It doesn’t take an expert eye to view the publicity for Enough Said – with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini sitting there smiling like a couple of schmucks – to know that there will be some rom and there will be some com.
And so it goes – on the rom side there is laughter and tears, misunderstandings and lessons learned; the column marked com is a little emptier.
It’s a shame, then, that this slight comedy of manners and errors is Gandolfini’s valedictory work, although it’s due in part to his irrepressible affability that the film passes by without inducing a saccharine overdose.
Eva (Dreyfus) is a divorced mum-of-one, while Albert (Gandolfini) is a divorced dad-of-one. They get together tentatively and fall for each other in an awkward way, and the two leads play off each other like the pros they are.
But Eva earns a crust by massaging the idle rich of Santa Monica and among her clients is the worldly, stylish Marianne (Catherine Keener) with whom she becomes firm friends. The first problem with this is that Marianne is Albert’s ex-wife. The second problem is that when Eva finds out, she doesn’t tell Albert.
So Marianne, unknowingly, drips poison on Eva’s dreams of a new start, and she in turn starts picking up on all Albert’s traits that his ex found so repellent. All the while Eva fails to see her own failings, particularly her neediness that is played out through her relationship with her daughter and her daughter’s friend.
So it’s all the sort of fairly generic stuff that you’d expect from a writer-director — Nicole Holofcener — who earned her stripes on Sex And The City and already has a Jennifer Aniston movie under her belt.
On the plus side Holofcener has managed to put together an ensemble talented enough to turn what could have been a sows ear into if not a silk purse then at least a mid-priced clutch bag.
Dreyfus continues her post-Seinfeld upward trajectory with her usual kook-and-grin, while Keener and Toni Collette slip into solid supporting roles as the ex and bestie respectively. None is stretched and, frankly, this isn’t the place for that.
It’s a shame that such fluff should be Gandolfini’s parting gift and that we’ll never get the chance to see if he could have defined a big screen role in the way he did with The Sopranos.
But In The Loop showed Gandolfini had the chops for chuckles and here he’s got charm oozing out of him as he battles an oestregen maelstrom.
Enough Said is dedicated to ‘Jim’ – his last gift to us all was an affable lunk and, by all accounts that’s pretty close to how he was as a man.
Che peccato. Buon’ anima. Enough said.