Some Girl(s) is a movie about a “nice guy” who has trouble seeing beyond himself. Though the film revolves around the desires of the central guy, named Man (played by Adam Brody), the moments of emotional depth come from the strong cast of female characters that Man just can’t understand.
Based on Neil LaBute’s play of the same name and directed by Daisy von Scheler Mayer, director of the beloved film Party Girl, Some Girl(s) follows Man (Adam Brody), a self-involved writer, who is about to get married and decides to visit his ex-girlfriends around the country because he wants to assuage any guilt he feels about hurting them.
These women include Sam (Jennifer Morrison), his high school girlfriend; Lindsay (Emily Watson), a college professor; Tyler (Mia Maestro), a fling in Chicago; Bobbi (Kristen Bell), the only woman he truly loved and Reggie (Zoe Kazan), his best friend’s younger sister.
We follow Man to different cities as he encounters these women with his sad, halfhearted attempts at apology. Meeting each in a hotel room, Man automatically establishes that he doesn’t really care about these women as people—he seems to care more about what they signify for him. Tyler, his fling, signifies the hot sexual connection they had, Bobbi the vision of the man he could never actually be, Lindsay the encounter that turned into literary greatness. Man functions in the same narcissistic space that Rob Gordon (John Cusack) in High Fidelity operates in—that he can’t be bothered to take responsibility for his actions mainly because he sees himself as a “nice guy.”
The concept of the “nice guy” recently was under cultural scrutiny with Nice Guys of OK Cupid—a Tumblr that compiles “nice guys” who claim such in their OK Cupid profiles and then directly contradict—and the uncharming video by comedian DJ Lubel “The Women of LA” about an average, nerdy “nice guy” who can’t get laid because the women of Los Angeles are too shallow to recognize his attributes. Similarly to both of these, Man’s self-defined nice guy status leaves him too clueless to see beyond himself to even remotely understand these women or to be able to respect them. Brody plays Man with the right amount of smarm, but ultimately comes off as a more insufferable Seth Cohen. Unlike Rob in the similar film High Fidelity, we are not left with any growth or self-awareness for Man, the emotional core of the film lays with the female characters who are named (unlike Man) and give complex, layered performances.
All of the women really shine in this film but the real standouts are Zoe Kazan and Kristen Bell. Kazan’s scene, as Reggie the younger sister of Man’s best friend, packs the major emotional punch. Man kissed Reggie when she was 11 and he was 16, brings up dialogue about sexual assault, loss of innocence and vulnerability. Kazan is heartbreaking and mesmerizing as Reggie, this scene alone is worth seeing the movie for. Kristen Bell is also incredibly good as Bobbi, hilariously putting Man in his place but also letting her guard down to reveal what their relationship meant to her.
However, with a completely unbelievable end twist, Some Girl(s) ends up being a movie with few emotional high points and a shallow parody of nice guys who never change.