Mikey and Nicky Review: Elaine May Breaks Down Masculinity to its Core


Although Mike Nichols had already been established as a well-regarded auteur (and not without good reason), his comedy partner Elaine May was robbed of having the same legendary status after her third film. Which is utterly baffling to me, because there’s a particularly unflinching angle in Mikey and Nicky that many crime dramas of the time period had never captured, and it’s also what made this film so terrifying on the inside. But to think that this was the sort of film that Elaine May, whose best-known works have often come by in the comedy genre, makes it even more astounding because it’s clear enough that this film was made with a skilled eye that already would be placing her among many of the all-time greats, had her career really taken off to the degree that it absolutely deserved to. Like many great artists who get their start in the comedy genre, Elaine May sought to branch out even further with Mikey and Nicky but for many more reasons I also consider this to be her best film yet. And to me, there’s nothing more shameful than the fact we never got to see Elaine May create more films of this sort.

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