Archive for October, 2013

Enough Said review

October 13, 2013

I was unsure what to expect of Enough Said before viewing it. Though billed as a romantic comedy, its advertising, plot, and the recent death of James Gandolfini made it nearly impossible to comprehend what would be so comedic about it. Thankfully, Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ sarcastic charisma and amusingly awkward yet heartfelt interactions with Gandolfini were enough to withstand its genre.

Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorced masseuse who is as unappreciated by her clientele as she is by her teenage daughter Ellen (Tracey Fairaway), who is moving to New York for college to escape her mother. While reluctantly attending a party with her friend Sarah (Toni Collette), who works as a therapist and appropriately serves as Eva’s voice of reason, Eva meets and quickly falls in love with another divorcee, Albert (Gandolfini), whose kindness and brutal frankness overshadow all of his flaws and quirks that Gandolfini often hilariously demonstrates, such as his difficulty at whispering, which causes trouble for the couple in a movie theater.

Coincidentally, the same party provides Eva with her other desire, an appreciative client in the form of Marianne (Catherine Keener), whose talent for poetry is one of her pleasant qualities. Unfortunately, Marianne proves to be insatiably nitpicky, with a tendency to criticize her ex-husband constantly, becoming increasingly irritable as the two women bond and form a solid friendship. Despite the twist’s predictability, it is not until halfway through the film that Eva realizes that her boyfriend is Marianne’s ex-husband, and that his mostly harmless quirks are what ended her marriage. As a result, Eva grows much more critical of Albert herself, drawing negative attention to even his most trivial eccentricities (i.e. separating onions from guacamole). In her most mean-spirited moment, she even jokes that Albert should receive a book of nutrition facts (particularly calories) for his birthday, a scene that Gandolfini’s fatal heart attack makes all the more shocking. The chemistry between Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini’s characters is genuine despite their lack of social grace, making for an emotional and believable romantic comedy.

However, one of the major flaws of Enough Said is its apparent inability to handle its many subplots in a cohesive manner. Throughout the film, Eva causes additional problems for herself, almost all of which are unresolved or distract attention from the main storyline. For example, Eva’s daughter’s best friend Chloe becomes alarmingly clingy, constantly seeking romantic advice from Eva and refusing to leave the house. This results in not only Eva’s daughter accusing her mother of favoring her friend, but also Eva’s friend’s mother accusing her of trying to steal her daughter. The only purpose of these tiresomely complicated and yet trivial subplots seems to be to cement Louis-Dreyfus’ character as a female Larry David who becomes entangled in more awkward social situations than even George Costanza in a typical Seinfeld episode. If this is the case, director/writer Nicole Holofcener should have taken the time to watch Louis-Dreyfus’ breakthrough series (or better yet Curb Your Enthusiasm) and realize that such subplots are much more rewarding when creatively combined in a twist ending than abandoned altogether.