Gandolfini, Louis-Dreyfus charm in ‘Enough Said’Posted on September 19, 2013 | by Isabel Jones
In its elemental form, the plot is uninspired, but paired with great talent and unconventional characters, “Enough Said” — one of the final film roles of James Gandolfini — is able to soar.
After a few promising dates with Albert (Gandolfini), Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), a freelance masseuse, discovers her new friend and client Marianne (Catherine Keener) is Albert’s ex-wife. To make matters worse, Marianne constantly complains about her ex-husband, from his weight to his guacamole-eating habits.
Toni Collette also joins this wonderful cast, as the sassy and unhappily married gal pal, Sarah. While Collette is wonderful as always and even impressively breaks out her native Australian accent, her character fails to live up to the others and is a disappointingly stock character. Collette’s role is just a minor example of how the movie takes something great and turns it into something average.
Along with Collette’s useless role, “Said” veers away from quality in other respects. The dialogue has a unique tendency to shift from clever to clunky — a few unnecessary lines are delivered at the expense of an overly saccharine moment. And as expected, the comedy-reared Louis-Dreyfus falters when she is required to deliver a toned-down performance. But therein lies the beauty of the film — its stark imperfection.
Complementing “Said’s” inconsistencies are its older, less glamorous lead characters. For example, Louis-Dreyfus dons a hideous parachute-pants/mom-jeans hybrid outfit in one of the final scenes. Even though Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini often deliver the same clichés romantic comedies are replete with, they still manage to come off as genuine.
Although Eva and Albert constantly poke fun at being middle-aged, the characters feel youthful and optimistic. Divorced characters are often cast aside and considered damaged goods or cynics, especially when they have college-aged children. “Said” instead presents its protagonists as two lovestruck teens, riding the euphoric wave of their own electric banter. It’s difficult not to be swept up in their romance.
The late Gandolfini particularly shines in “Said,” offering a subdued performance for the man who has come to be known as America’s favorite mobster. Like Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight,” it is a role that makes the viewer weep for a career cut too short. While “Said” has its faults, Gandolfini epitomizes perfection. His intimidating stature was part of why he was so effective as a mob boss, but “Said” is a testament to his talent and versatility as an actor. He moves completely away from his more well-known on-screen persona and creates a completely lovable character.
Despite its issues, “Enough Said” is a thoroughly entertaining film. It is wonderful to see Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini, two often-typecast actors, break from audiences’ expectations and, better yet, to see the love found later in life to be treated so respectfully. Gandolfini alone is worth the price of admission.
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 19 print edition. Isabel Jones is entertainment editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.