‘Enough Said’ has one of James Gandolfini’s last (great) performances

James Gandolfini co-stars, in his one of his last performances, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in "Enough Said." Credit: Lacey Terrell
James Gandolfini co-stars, in one of his final performances, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Enough Said.”
Credit: Lacey Terrell

‘Enough Said’
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Stars: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini
Rating: PG-13
3 (out of 5) Globes

Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener (“Lovely & Amazing,” “Please Give”) has carved out a niche as the maker of female-centered dramedies that are deceptively modest, uncommonly insightful and neatly made — often too neat, to be honest. “Enough Said,” her fifth feature, finds her making a somewhat awkward fusion with a more popular genre: the cringe-inducing depiction of stunted adolescence. Like “Bridemaids” and “Frances Ha,” the film’s heroine is in an uneasy, unsettled spot in her life, grappling madly for elusive security.

The difference is she’s middle-age, which make all the difference in the world. Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a long-time divorcee who makes a not-terribly-happy living as a masseuse. She embarks on a courtship both slightly awkward and shockingly smooth with Albert (James Gandolfini), who she meets-cute at a party. They both have daughters bound for college, exes they’re not happy with and an intense self-effacement. At the same time, Eva befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), a successful poet who engages her services and, due to having too few friends, starts unloading about her dreaded ex — a portly, self-effacing “loser” whose daughter is also bound for college.

That she’s talking about Albert is a shock, not because the secret has been so well kept, but because Holofcener seems like the last filmmaker who would do broad farce. “Enough Said” really does look like a nice middle age romance, and even when it’s revealed that Eva has been listening to Marianne complain at length, and in great detail, about the man she’s newly seeing — and even after Eva starts grilling Marianne for more dirt — it’s not a mere genre exercise. Eva’s actions are borne out of a fear she’ll grow irritated with Albert, as well as a subconscious desire to find a reason to end the relationship before things get too intense.

It could honestly bear to go even further with this idea; the requirements of plot both deepen the film’s look at relationships and hobble it, blocking it from digging deeper. But Holofcener’s observations are as strong as ever, and the acting is predictably peerless. This is one of Gandolfini’s last performances, and it’s one of his strongest: He’s charming, but you can see him trying to hide the hangdog, intransigent tendencies that drove Marianne nuts (and may one day drive Eva nuts, too). Louis-Dreyfus is great, too. A TV star who rarely works in movies, she brings an expert balance: She sells the more comedic aspects of the role while giving her a believability that she’s too infrequently asked to handle. It’s a great dance between two actors who should be, or should have been, in more movies.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Lesbians, men most likely…

Lesbians, men most likely to achieve orgasm Location: U.S. Study subjects: 2,850 people Results: Whether you find it shocking or not, a new study reports that…

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.