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Enough Said - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Enough Said
Directing: B+
Acting: A-
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B+

The premise of Enough Said is a tad cutesy: a woman discovers the new man she's dating, and really likes, is the ex-husband of a new friend she's made, who despises him. There's not much else to tell about the story; the overall arc is pretty much by the numbers. What sets it apart is the writing and the actors, all of whom rise well above the relative mediocrity of the premise.

Also, of course, it's wonderful to see James Gandolfini, who plays the man, Albert. Here's one major advantage to being an actor: in a way, you outlive your death. This movie was probably shot last year, but it's all new to us, so it's like he's still alive. And this is a lovely actor who could have had many years of a continued career. According to imdb.com, he has one more movie still in post-production, and I take comfort in that.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays Eva, the woman in the middle of all this, has said Albert the character was perhaps the closest to James Gandolfini the man that he has ever played. Albert is mild mannered, a little bit of a slob but clean, charming and funny. It's a nice way to remember him.

Louis-Dreyfus, for her part, is a natural, comfortable fit on film, which we can only hope she does more of. This is her first live-action feature part since the nineties. Television has clearly been very lucrative for her, but it's fun to see her in movies too. And even though Eva makes some irrational decisions, she's so likable that it's practically impossible to judge her.

The rest of the cast is a treat as well. There's Toni Collette as Eva's best friend Sarah, for once allowed to speak in her native Australian accent. Ben Falcone is Sarah's husband Will. And in the thankless part of Marianne, Albert's ex-wife, is the always-excellent Katherine Keener. Any other actor would just make Marianne hateful, but Keener has an uncanny ability to make such characters sympathetic. Really, it's impossible to dislike anyone in this movie.

Eva meets Marianne first, at a party she goes to with Sarah and Will. Eva is a massage therapist who takes her equipment to people's homes, and Marianne is a potential new client. Moments later, at the same party, Eva meets Albert, having no idea the two were once married. They make small talk about how they're not attracted to anyone there, and bond over their respective daughters about to go away to college. In both cases numbers are exchanged; with Marianne it's professional at first but Eva enjoys her company and they develop a friendship. Albert takes her on a date and they develop an attraction.

The conflict that develops, naturally, is that Marianne talks shit about Albert, and once Eva puts it together, she hesitates to tell either of them the truth because she's so unsure about whether she wants to pursue the relationship. "It's like having a relationship TripAdvisor," Eva tells Sarah. She seems to feel like she's collecting intelligence, without acknowledging the absolute bias of the information she's getting.

Underneath it all, it's the same story, albeit a little inverted, in that this time it's the woman who is the focus rather than the man (a refreshing difference, actually). Instead of "boy meets girl," it's more "girl meets boy" -- then, girl loses boy, and, well, you know the rest. There aren't any real surprises, but sometimes, when done well, there's comfort in formula. This is the kind of movie you can cozy up to, like the blanket Eva's knitting for her daughter.

And Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini have genuine chemistry, in spite of their age -- both in their early fifties -- and being wildly different from each other. But therein lies the charm: it may be an age-old formula, but it's grafted onto a host of details that make this movie unlike others. As a result, it's just a lovely, exceptional movie-going experience.

James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are an unlikely pair in ENOUGH SAID.

Overall: B+
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