Enough Said (***)
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone.
(Moviehouse, Dublin Road 16/10/13)
WHILE bringing together the stars of two of the most iconic American TV shows of all time certainly seems like a winner, the gentle comedy of Enough Said is a long way from the heights of The Sopranos and Seinfeld. However, James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus prove they’ve still got what it takes to make sparks fly as two embarrassedly middle-aged romantics.
Eva (Louis-Dreyfus) works as a masseuse and in the opening sequence of the film the audience watches as she does her rounds with her regular clients- a man with bad breath, a woman who can’t stop talking incessantly about her own life and a man who lives at the top of some very steep stairs. The shot of Eva struggling up these stairs with her heavy massage table seems a perfectly apt metaphor for the life we imagine our put-upon heroine to have at this early point in the film.
The mundane life of 40-something singleton Eva is then interrupted when she attends a party with friends and meets Albert (Gandolfini). The two have a lot in common- both are divorced, both have daughters that are about to leave for college and both are adamant that they don’t find each other attractive. It’s clear that really isn’t the case though and soon afterwards they begin to date and romance beckons.
Where things get complicated, however, is that Eva also picked up a new client at the same party, a woman called Marianne (Keener). The two become friends, bonding over massage sessions where they bitch about their ex-husbands, while simultaneously Eva is becoming closer and closer to Albert. The problem is Marianne’s ex-husband is Albert.
Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus have great chemistry in this film- not simply are they believable as a couple, but they also bounce off each other really well as a comedy double act, and the film relies heavily on the two leads in that respect. Romantic comedies are usually populated with zany, quirky or just plain crazy bit part players who get all the best lines, while the leads are ironically both dry and soppy. In Enough Said, however, it is quite the opposite as the supporting cast of characters are all a little on the dull side and the story never really seems to get out of third gear.
Enough Said is a well-made, enjoyable film, directed with ease by Holofcener, but the story rather reflects the sun-kissed suburban California, the drama is thin on the ground.
However, if you are a fan of either of the two leads you really should go and see the film. Julia Louis Dreyfus is a likeable underdog of a lead, playing like a middle-aged Liz Lemon, while Gandolfini gives it his usual disarming charm. Together they bring an acerbic comic fizz to the film’s script.
While this might not be grand Gandolfini cinematic swan-song many would have hoped for, it is still nevertheless a poignant reminder that as an actor he offered so much more than what his imposing frame and gruff demeanour would have initially suggested. He had great charm and fantastic sense of comic timing, both of these qualities are showcased in abundance throughout Enough Said.
Review by Richard Davis