‘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
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.