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FILM REVIEW: Enough Said

Categories: Movies

Enough Said will make you miss James Gandolfini all over again. It's a smart romantic comedy that grown-ups can enjoy, thanks to the performance of two lead actors totally at ease with themselves.

Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star as Albert and Eva, both divorced and tentatively starting over again. They meet at a party, bonding over their mutual disdain at their fellow guests, and are soon are flirting over bagels and coffee.

Eva is a professional masseuse who is prone to giggling at life's absurdities. Albert is a gruff TV archivist with an unfiltered sense of honesty.

Every rom-com must have a relationship built on deception and this one's a doozy. One of Eva's clients is Marianne (Catherine Keener), who is incidentally Albert's ex-wife. As the two women become friends, Eva can't help but probe for details about what broke Marianne and Albert apart -- a form of emotional insider trading that threatens to poison her affections.

Director Nicole Holofcener is known for films that centre around the dynamics of female friendship, but with Enough Said she focuses on the battlefield of married life. The film is populated with a collection of the walking wounded -- married or divorced, they all struggle forward. Toni Collette and Ben Falcone appear as Eva's married friends, a couple who bristle with such resentment that it's a wonder anyone is willing to try for love again.

While Holofcener's visual style is generic to a fault, what separates Enough Said from the average romantic comedy is the space and sophistication she gives her actors. Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini may seem like an usual couple at the outset, but they're utterly convincing within minutes. In his rare conversations about craft, Gandolfini talked about being a student of the Meisner technique, in which actors access emotions to bring a sense of improvisation and spontaneity to their roles. You can see it in his gentle but full-hearted performance as Albert: he's present in every moment, never telegraphing, but always supporting Louis-Dreyfus.

Whether you're a fan of Seinfeld , The Adventures of Old Christine or Veep, Enough Said is also great reminder of Louis-Dreyfus' range as a comedienne (She's demonstrated that she's much more than just Elaine). In a finely tuned performance, her Eva is an almost Woody Allen-esque mix of giddiness, sarcasm and, more often than not, embarrassment. If Enough Said is guilty of anything, it's stretching the inevitable deception beyond what's reasonable. It's a forgiveable error in a film with a sharp eye for the attachments we make.

RATING: 4 out of 5

For extra reading, check out this interview with Louis-Dreyfus about what Gandolfini brought to the role.

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