Directed by: Nicole Holofcencer Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone Running Time: 1 hr 33 mins Rating: R Release Date: September 27, 2013 (Chicago)
PLOT: A masseuse (Louis-Dreyfus) finds out that the man she is dating (Gandolfini) is the ex-husband of her new friend (Keener).
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of quiet romantic comedies with special chemistry.
If I had to guess, I would say that most of the other scenes in Enough Said happen on a Sunday. The film has that type of comfortable, matter-of-fact breeze to it, with characters sitting outside and sipping drinks as they indirectly and metaphorically inflate the elephant of truth in the room. The second date between Eva and Albert happens on a Sunday. When Eva meets Albert at his house on this particular day of the week he is wearing pajamas, whereas she is in more formal dating attire. "It's Sunday," he reasons with a strong matter-of-fact tone. "I like to be comfortable." But what keeps this light comedy with one conflict from fully losing itself to a breeze, and what subsequently makes it a special film, is chemistry that we’re all too sad to never get to witness again.
Enough Said warrants its admission price with its inspired chemistry, as Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfuss match nicely as opposites. While they have shared personal situations as empty nest divorcees, they have two distinctly different ways of dealing with the past that has affected their present vulnerable romantic state. Eva is on the offense when it comes to protecting herself, and will go so far as to exclaim when she goes to a party that there are no men she finds attractive, or will embarrass Gandolfini for having a loud whisper in front of her friends. On the other hand, the inward Gandolfini is more matter-of-fact, but nonetheless shows his vulnerability as a graying teddy bear, the closer they get. The companionship makes for some very sweet passages, one could even say without overdoing the sugar that they’re even cute. Their constant discussions about the world are often very funny – they crack each other up, and us as well. With such a simple conflict creating growing tension between them, the entertainment of their courtship keeps us occupied before the scenario gets too tedious, even considering the close calls and the winks of the conflict.
Playing a character that some could likely take as discouraging, Louis-Dreyfuss is charming in a role that she fulfills with consistent successful comedy. As someone who creates a dilemma for herself, Louis-Dreyfuss keeps this character grounded, both in terms of her nerves but also in terms for comic relief. She’s never trying to nervously win us over even when she is the one creating BS in an otherwise non-BS environment.
Gandolfini's turn in Enough Said comes after two supporting performances in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly, both from 2012. Both of them required only a few minutes of Gandolfini's screen-time, but nonetheless left indelible impressions about the grandiose presence he can provide with only bits of dialogue. In the scheme of these two films, Enough Said is a celebratory next step for him. This isn't his last film (he has Animal Control due out in 2014), but it is a fine chapter of a career finale that has come too soon.
Enough Said has more ideas than it has use for its characters, with usually funny actors like Keener, Toni Collette, or Ben Falcone as a married couple struggling to find a strong purpose. If its themes could be characters, this script might be stronger. Instead there are capable supporting parts here that are better at filling time than they are at fulfilling subtext.
For a story that puts a specific focus the often unexplored anxieties of both the dating divorcee and the empty nester, and is also hip to the jive of the new evolving definition of "family," the attitude of Enough Said has disappointing dabs of ageism. Younger characters are treated with a specifically different handling than older characters, and are basically stereotyped as being rude and high-strung phone addicts. (Sure, teenagers can be terrible, but not as consistently as they are shown here). It seems unnecessary for Holofcencer to turn Enough Said a bit into a self-conscious war of age, especially as it easily assumes its own hip-ness with a dilemma that can be understood at any dating age, even in the teen years. Enough Said is instead about adults trying to avoid the traveled dating BS most teenagers wouldn't know how to manage - and that certainly does include the difference of confrontations being carried out face-to-face, instead of phone-to-phone. But isn't drawing a thick divisive line between the young and not-as-young a bit old fashioned?
FINAL SCORE: 7/10