Enough Said (2013) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, comic violence, language and partial nudity
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, Eve Hewson, Tracey Fairaway, Tavi Gevinson, Amy Landecker, Toby Huss, Anjela Johnson-Reyes
Small role: Michaela Watkins
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener
Review published October 9, 2013
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Deconstructing Harry, Fathers Day) plays Eva, a divorced mother working as a masseuse in Southern California, whose only daughter (Fairaway, Eden) is on the verge of heading for college for the first time. While tagging along at a party with her BFF Sarah (Colette, The Way Way Back), she meets a portly divorcee named Albert (Gandolfini, Zero Dark Thirty), a television museum historian who is in a similar living situation, who ends up asking her out on a date. Eva isn't attracted to Albert, but she is feeling a bit lonely, and figures she has nothing to lose. At the same party, she meets a prospective new client for her business, a bohemian poet named Marianne (Keener, The Soloist), whom she eventually befriends.
As things begin to heat up between Eva and Albert, it soon becomes apparent that the ex-husband that Marianne has been ranting about during their massage sessions is none other than the very same Albert she is so enamored of. Caught between her feelings for Albert and her wanting to be warned about his flaws, Eva continues gathering information from Marianne about him, only to find that her feelings are starting to change as she sees Albert through the eyes of a woman who couldn't stand him.
Enough Said is a romantic comedy-drama from Nicole Holofcener, the writer-director of other critically acclaimed films exploring the daily travails of mostly upper middle-class affluent women (and men) in such as Lovely & Amazing and Friends with Money -- something that invites comparisons to the works of Woody Allen often. The film is bolstered by her knack for dialogue and character, but also in not pressing too hard in order to get laughs that aren't there, letting smaller conversations play out naturally, and having supporting characters mirror the main story in a fashion which draws out interesting tidbits without stopping the overall momentum of the character's journey at large. She also is able to deftly write dialogue for both men and women with equal plausibility, allowing both genders to have lively discussions without taking sides as to which is right.
The actors are very appealing playing middle-aged daters, with Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini, in one of his final roles, showing a much softer, more vulnerable teddy bear side to him that is likely closer to his natural, emotionally guarded personality than the many violent gangsters he often portrays. Coming so soon after the heels of his untimely demise, it's hard not to be just a touch sentimental at seeing his appealing talent on the screen. Meanwhile, Louis-Dreyfus offers some nuance to her character, as we can read her dilemma in her face, caught between her internal feelings for the man she is seeing and the inability to divorce Marianne's many jaded observations from the back of her mind, especially on such unimportant things as the way he dips his tortilla chips in guacamole and the fact that he doesn't feel that nightstands are important to keep next to the bed -- things Eva might never have noticed on her own. Meanwhile, while Albert grates, she puts up with the idiosyncrasies of her clients all day, including halitosis, constant blabbing, etc.
Enough Said is a unique film in that it isn't about the man having to overcome his foibles in order to be worthy of the woman he wants, it's about a woman who must look within and come to terms on whether she can accept someone else into her life who has a set of flaws that someone she regards highly finds unacceptable. It's about the obstacles we find in life that aren't really obstacles; we have the power to make a turn for the better if only we have the courage to initiate the change on our own. Though it isn't as laugh-out-loud funny as you might expect from a film starring a Seinfeld-alum, Enough Said still emerges as a warm and insightful romantic comedy that sees its characters as flawed but well-meaning people looking for happiness in their interactions with others, but ultimately finding it within themselves.
©2013 Vince Leo