‘Enough Said’ is a rare gem of a mid-life, second-chance-at-love, romantic comedy-drama where the leads intimately show their funny, quirky, and relatable natures. As such, ‘Enough Said’s’ characters are instantly understandable by being far from perfect.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (‘Seinfeld,’ ‘Veep’) is Eva, a middle-aged, attractive, hard-working masseuse who is also a divorced single parent to her teen daughter. Focusing very much on her daughter’s looming departure for college, Eva appears somewhat worried about the prospect of being left alone. To her surprise, though, she suddenly meets two new individuals while mingling at a casual party. First, she encounters a potential client, Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet who will become her friend, and, later, meets Albert (the late James Gandolfini of ‘Sopranos’ fame).
Albert is a middle-aged, funny, chubby, and loving divorced man, who is also facing the feeling of an ‘empty nest’ with his college-aged daughter. Eva and Albert soon start dating and, although slightly awkward at first, they soon appear to truly connect with their similar senses of humor, love for their daughters, and desire to not be alone. Nevertheless, still carrying hurt from her prior serious relationship, Eva actively pursues the collection of more and more background information on Albert (seeking, in her words, ‘Trip Advisor’-like reviews) before fully allowing herself to fall in love with this seeming teddy bear of a man.
Writer-director Nicole Holofcener has created a touchstone of the experience of being middle-aged in her quirky, messy, and sometimes even forlorn, detail of the latter-half/post-children confusion of adult life. In almost any other writer’s hands, the contrivance on which this story turns would be too sitcom-ish to be relatable but, in Holofcener’s hands, the odd elements somehow work when meshed with her smart dialogue.
‘Enough Said,’ too, is strangely comical throughout, with many chuckle-out-loud moments that Louis-Dreyfus so aptly brings to the screen, but the rom-com’s thematic undertones are, at times, almost somber. We see the lengths Eva will go to in order to protect herself from being hurt again, even temporarily pushing away those whom she loves the most. And, we are shown Albert, a man who wants authenticity in a relationship but cannot fully let go of habits which have caused him problems in the past (overeating, messiness). Of special note, is James Gandolfini’s heart-on-his sleeve, sweet, generous performance, in a portrayal very different from the Mafia boss for which he was most famous. (It is bittersweet to watch this new side of him, knowing it was one of his last).
Both lead characters can be self-defeating, distancing themselves from the companionship they so desperately really want. But, it is these messy qualities that allow the audience to feel invested in the on-screen relationship. ‘Enough Said’ is not perfect, but it has 'enough' to be highly enjoyable for adults. ‘Enough Said’ is rated 5 of 5 stars (‘strongly recommended’).
‘Enough Said’ is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for crude and sexual content, comic violence, language and partial nudity.
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