Movies Reviews by Michael Phillips

'Enough Said' Movie Review  | Movie Reviews Site

James Gandolfini died at age 51, and it's still a terrible loss, all these years later. Consider writer-director Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" to be a fond farewell.

The bearlike actor with one of the most instantly identifiable voices in popular culture co-stars opposite top-billed Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The film's minor but skillfully made and generous in spirit.

Gandolfini's sweetness, detectable even when he was exploring his best-known role (Tony Soprano), emerges in "Enough Said" in full flower, reminding us once again that he had range, size, instincts and a lovely way of serving the material.

Like Holofcener's "Lovely & Amazing" and "Friends With Money," "Enough Said" skips around various neighborhoods of greater Los Angeles as its characters stumble through their heart's desires.

Louis-Dreyfus is Eva, a divorced massage therapist with a daughter (Tracey Fairaway) heading off to college. Eva's skittish about re-entering the dating pool. At a party she meets Albert, played by Gandolfini. Sparks don't exactly fly, but their senses of humor complement each other.

Albert's a TV nerd, an employee at an LA museum of television broadcasting. Like Eva, he's divorced, with a college-bound daughter (Eve Hewson), though compared with Eva's daughter, Albert's is an insecure, overbearing pill, spoiled half-rotten. Is Albert an indulgent father? How will he wear over time, Eva wonders? And what's up with Albert's ex?

The trailers give it away: The ex turns out to be a regular client and newfound friend of Eva's, a poet played by Catherine Keener. (I like this introductory dialogue of Holofcener's: "I'm a poet," Keener says, explaining what she does for a living. Not realizing she's being serious, Eva responds with a merry: "And I'm a dreamer.")

Here's the take-it-or-leave-it issue with "Enough Said." This plot device involving the Big Reveal, in which the poet's reportedly awful ex is now Eva's new squeeze, feels hoked-up in the extreme, leading to a protracted section of the film wherein Eva conceals a lot from both characters. It belongs to farce, not gentle, relationship-driven comedy. I wish Holofcener had found a way to deal with these characters without quite so much artificial machinery running their lives.

But this is where the actors come in. Louis-Dreyfus is an extraordinarily talented comic actress, with strong dramatic chops as well. Remarkably, it has been 16 years since she performed in a live-action feature film (Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry"). All that series television in the interim has honed her timing to a razor-sharp edge. What the performance lacks, I think, is a sense of surprise. Eva's not particularly richly delineated on the page; she's more a general-interest, audience-friendly, garden-variety protagonist, although any film with any female protagonist in the neighborhood of 50 is all too unusual to begin with.

Gandolfini doesn't force a moment, by contrast, dealing with Albert's peculiarities (he's very picky about his guacamole, for example) with a straightforward calm and a ready, apologetic smile. There's a lot in "Enough Said" about Albert being overweight, and some of the dialogue is, frankly, a little hard to hear in light of Gandolfini's fatal heart attack. At the same time, despite the movie's limitations, it's very satisfying to watch Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini enjoy each other's company on screen, as characters, because it's satisfying to watch them enjoy each other's company as performers.

"Enough Said" Movie Trailer

 

About "Enough Said"

"Enough Said" Review - 3 out of 4 Stars

MPAA rating: PG-13 (for crude and sexual content, comic violence, language and partial nudity).

Running time: 1:33.

Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Eva); James Gandolfini (Albert); Toni Collette (Sarah); Catherine Keener (Marianne).

Credits: Written and directed by Nicole Holofcener; produced by Anthony Bregman and Stefanie Azpiazu. A Fox Searchlight Pictures release.

The comedy film "Enough Said" is a lighthearted love story about two people who fall in love with one another.

A divorced and single parent, Eva (Julia Louis Dreyfus) spends her days enjoying work as a masseuse but dreading her daughter's impending departure for college. She meets Albert (James Gandolfini) -- a sweet, funny and like-minded man also facing an empty nest. As their romance quickly blossoms, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), her new massage client. Marianne is a beautiful poet who seems "almost perfect" except for one prominent quality: she rags on her ex-husband way too much. Suddenly, Eva finds herself doubting her own relationship with Albert as she learns the truth about Marianne's Ex. "Enough Said" is a sharp, insightful comedy that humorously explores the mess that often comes with getting involved again.

 

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'Enough Said' Movie Review - Stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus & James Gandolfini

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