Enough Said

Directed By: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, and Toby Huss

We've lost many iconic figures in Hollywood this year.  We've said goodbye to the likes of Roger Ebert, Jean Stapleton, and even Cory Monteith.  Though celebrity deaths generally don't take an emotional toll on me.  I do have to say that I was troubled by James Gandolfini's passing earlier this year.  The beloved actor made his mark on the world as Tony Soprano and as countless other characters in both television and film.  Like many, I will sorely miss his larger-than-life presence on the big screen.  Fortunately for fans like me, Gandolfini was very busy in the final years of his life.  Appearing in the films Killing Them Softly, Zero Dark Thirty, Not Fade Away, and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone in the last year alone, he's left us with plenty of memories.  This weekend's Enough Said marks one of his final performances in which he portrays Julia Louis-Dreyfus's flabby boyfriend.

Divorced now for ten years and preparing to send her daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) off to college, Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is one lonely masseuse.  Sure, she has her friends Sarah and Will (Toni Collette and Ben Falcone), but she will soon be all alone.  It will be just Eva and the clients who disgust her on a daily basis.  One night, Sarah and Will take her to a party.  There, Eva makes friends with a poet named Marianne (Catherine Keener) who later hires her for massage therapy on an ongoing basis.  She also meets a man by the name of Albert (Gandolfini) to whom she's not attracted.  Though he's not attracted to her either, Albert asks Eva out to dinner, and she accepts.  At dinner, they discover that they have strong romantic chemistry.  Soon thereafter, a relationship blossoms between the two middle-aged divorcees.  There's just one problem.  Marianne is Albert's ex-wife, and she's unknowingly poisoning Eva's views of Albert as their relationship begins to find its legs.

At a time when many have declared the death of romantic comedies, Nicole Holofcener's Enough Said breathes new life into the genre and reminds us what a great rom com looks like.  Marked by refreshingly sharp wit and an emotionally resonant romance, Enough Said bucks the trend of the ultra-formulaic rom coms of recent years and gives us a taste of how to revitalize the genre in a quirky yet mature way.  With deftly delivered comedy and a mature interpretation of the film's central romance, Holofcener crafts one enjoyable movie that has something for everyone.

Holofcener brings two television icons together in Enough Said with Tony Soprano and Vice President Meyer.  Each delivers the goods.  In one of his final roles as Albert, James Gandolfini gives a great comedic performance full of sarcasm and wit delivered in the gruff way that only he could.  At the same time, he gives us an affable middle-aged gentleman who's just looking for a partner along this journey called life.  For her part as Eva, Julia Louis-Dreyfus delivers a hilarious yet touching performance as this woman who just can't seem to get her life right.  She's equally witty on screen as Gandolfini and delivers just as many laughs.  Together, these two acting pros have phenomenal chemistry playing off one another both comically and romantically.  All in all, Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus make for one great on-screen couple.

The supporting cast also does some great work here.  Catherine Keener makes a diva turn as poet Marianne.  Dishing out plenty of vitriolic comments about Gandolfini's Albert, Keener gives Louis-Dreyfus plenty of comedic fodder with which to work during their massage therapy sessions.  As couple Sarah and Will, Toni Collette and Ben Falcone trade plenty of barbs and are consistently amusing.  These two have priceless comedic chemistry on screen.  We also have Tavi Gevinson as Ellen's friend and Eva's younger kindred spirit Chloe.  Here Gevinson gives a strong supporting performance.

I've said enough about Enough Said.  It's an outstanding romantic comedy that fills a void we've had for quite some time in the rom com genre.  With smart, nuanced direction from Nicole Holofcener, charming lead performances from the late James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and a strong supporting cast, this movie delves into the subtleties of middle-aged love and finds its funny bone.  Enough Said gets a sober rating.