By Eleanor Ringel Cater
No doubt enough will be said about this being James Gandolfini’s last leading role. But there’s more to “Enough Said” (you saw it coming, didn’t you?) than the late much-loved actor’s endearing warm-n-fuzzy-with-an-edge portrayal.
There’s also Julia-Louis Dreyfus’s delicate dance as a lovable yet credible neurotic who tellingly admits, “I’m tired of being funny.” It’s an observation that any woman over 30 who’s been tossed back into the red-wine (usually merlot) sea of the dating pool might say. It’s one way of mustering up that kind of youthful-seeming “brightness,” like you might have had at 20.
Add Catherine Keener’s casually regal composure as a famous poet with impeccable taste (and has friends like Joni Mitchell). And Toni Collette, flawless in the oft-neglected role the best friend.
However, the true star of “Enough Said” is writer/director Nicole Holofcener. It would be easy to quick-sketch her as a West Coast Woody Allen (the Allen of “Annie Hall” and “Hannah and her Sisters”). They share a sense of humor, a respect for character and an ear for dialogue that’s become rarer and rarer in movies these days.
Eva and Albert, both divorced, meet at a party where they agree no one attractive has been invited. What draws them together, however, isn’t just a mutual sense of humor or the fact they are both on their own. Rather, what they have in common is that both their adored daughters are about to head off to college.
So tentatively, then happily, then tenderly, then enthusiastically, they start hanging out. But the course of true love… and all that. There’s a catch and, unlike some critics, I choose to not give it away. Still, it surfaces fairly early in the film, so if you read someone who does, nothing’s been all that spoiled.
Why, oh, why aren’t there more movies like this? Ones with recognizable people and intelligent writing and a sense of humanity and, well, the whole damn thing.
Maybe you should check out some of Holofcener’s other pictures — “Friends With Money,” “Walking and Talking,” “Lovely and Amazing” — first, since this one doesn’t open here until the 27th. I’m going back to see it again, but I can’t help envying you the chance to discover these characters and their world for the first time.
Tony Soprano and Jerry Seinfeld’s pal, Elaine Benes? Who’da’ thunk it?
I’m awfully glad somebody did.