American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"Nico and Dani" considers 10 days in the lives of two teenage Spanish boys, during which one finds that he is gay and the other finds that he is not. Oh, but it's a lot more complicated than that. Adolescence always is. The movie takes place at a Spanish beach resort; Dani's parents have gone on vacation, leaving him with a tutor and a cook in the daytime, but on his own at night. His best friend Nico comes from Barcelona to spend the week.
The boys are both 17, both virgins, both frank about their sexual aspirations but murky about the details. They meet two girls their own age--girls they met the previous summer, but a lot can change in a year when you're a teenager. Elena (Marieta Orozco) likes Nico (Jordi Vilches), and that leaves Berta (Esther Nubiola) and Dani (Fernando Ramallo) to pair off, until Dani realizes he'd rather pair off with Nico.
If this were an American teenage sex comedy . . . but don't get me started. Thanks to the MPAA's determination to steer American teenagers toward material that is immature and vulgar, this movie would never get made except with an R or NC-17 rating. Too bad, since a observant film like "Nico and Dani" could be useful to a confused teenager, suggesting that we all have to choose our own paths in life. Teenagers masturbate and worry about it, and this movie considers the subject in a healthy and helpful way, while the MPAA prefers jokes about despoiled apple pies.
Summer at the shore is casual and aimless. The two couples meet for drinks, go to parties and dances, and visit the beach, where Nico can show off his backflips. It gradually becomes clear that all four of them have concluded that these 10 days of freedom are an opportunity to lose their virginity at last. Not all of them do, but the possibility is there.