Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Movie with Abe: Enough Said

Enough Said
Directed by Nicole Holofcener
Released September 18, 2013

It’s rare to find a romantic comedy starring two fifty-year-old actors. It’s even rarer that neither has a background in that genre, with one known for her talents in television comedy as a loud woman prone to social pratfalls and misfortune, and the other famous for his portrayal of a television mobster. It’s no surprise that such a brave and rewarding film would come from director Nicole Holofcener, who demotes her regular collaborator Catherine Keener to a supporting role and promotes Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini to charming starring roles.

Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a divorced masseuse with a college-bound daughter, who meets Albert (Gandolfini), a divorced man with a college-bound daughter, at a party and begins dating him. As their romance progresses, Eva also gets to know Marianne (Keener), who happens to be Albert’s ex-wife, and has the unwelcome opportunity to learn everything she never wanted to know about Albert’s annoying habits before she even noticed them herself. The connection between Albert and Marianne is obvious from the start, but its purpose here is not to be a clever plot twist, but instead to showcase a story about falling in love with someone whispering bad things about your boyfriend in your ear the whole time.

Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini have a wonderful chemistry, both eager to be flirtatious but never entirely capable of saying exactly the right thing. Louis-Dreyfus tones down her token physical comedy to play Eva, who often rolls her eyes at the irritating habits of her massage clients but is ultimately a serious if sarcastic character. Gandolfini, who passed away at age fifty-one in June, is extremely endearing as the bearded, joke-cracking television history curator who acknowledges his own flaws and insecurities as he begins a relationship with Eva.

The story here is hardly as multi-dimensional as those in Holofcener’s two most recent films, “Please Give” and “Friends with Money,” since all of the supporting plotlines are inherently related to Eva and Albert. Among them, Toni Collette gets a rare opportunity to use her native Australian accent in a purely comedic turn as Eva’s best friend. But the focus on Eva and Albert works to the film’s advantage, since this is a fresh and very funny take on romance the second time around. It’s an affirming story about second chances and a great opportunity to see Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini, in one of his final roles, in a whole new light.


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