Director Nicole Holofcener
The best written comedy this year.
Enough Said stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini in a brilliant romantic-comedy about two middle-aged adults each looking for a chance at love that they believed has passed them by. Julia’s character is a traveling masseuse who spends her days almost like a psychiatrist listening to people’s problems while helping them relax. Julia’s newest client, played by Catherine Keener, is a successful poet who uses Julia as a friend, something she has very few of. As the friendship with the poet, and the relationship with Gandolfini’s character each begin to blossom, Julia’s character also develops a somewhat odd bond with her daughter’s best friend. One of the similarities that helps bond Julia and James’ characters is they both have daughters who are moving away to college for the first time. In both cases, when around their grown daughters who are leaving, Julia and James become very uncomfortable. As things grow more complicated for our lovable masseuse, trying to balance the relationships between James and his ex-wife, her relationships with friends and her own daughter become more strained. She begins to use them as bouncing-off points for whatever her feelings may be for James at the time. But her massage sessions with Keener’s character and her constant complaints about James begins to sour Julia’s viewpoint. The movie culminates in a brilliantly awkward scene in which James comes to pick up his daughter at Keener’s house when Julia is there giving a massage. The house of cards Julia had built comes crashing down around her. Soon thereafter, her friendship with her daughter’s best friend is forcibly destroyed by the girl’ mother, a hideous woman who loves herself and nothing else. The film ends on a beautiful note as both Julia and James meet and realize they were better together. For while Julia’s handling of the balance between James and his ex-wife was horrific, it was not with bad intentions.
This brilliant script, put in the hands of director Nicole Holofcener, is masterfully handled by a brilliant cast that also includes Toni Collette, Ben Falcone (The Heat, Bridesmaids). Nothing is more enjoyable than seeing Julia Louis-Dreyfus at her comic best. Virtually no other actress is so skilled at spontaneous, off-the-cuff comedy that leaves everyone laughing out loud. But, of course, the gem of this film as well as its biggest draw is James Gandolfini in what proved to be one of the two final roles he got to play in his life (the other one will release early next year). James shows his comic wits in this character, which is a well-overdue departure from Tony Soprano. He beautifully handles the delicate balance of being a man, a parent, and someone looking for love that is just as sensitive as Julia’s character or any other.
Enough Said, will have you laughing out loud as you enjoy and embrace every character this film has to offer.