Movie review: 'Enough Said' tender but strikes the right balance

After the two dozen plus cast members of "Enough Said" are listed in the closing credits comes the simple dedication: "For Jim."

The Jim is actor James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack in June in Rome. He co-stars in the romantic comedy from writer-director Nicole Holofcener ("Lovely & Amazing," "Friends With Money" and "Please Give"), alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette.

In the first few minutes you cannot help but think it's "When Elaine Met Tony (Soprano)."

'Enough Said'

3.5 stars = Very Good
Ratings explained

  • Starring:

    Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette.

  • Rating:

    PG-13 for sexual content, some thematic material and brief language.

But that disappears almost immediately in this California-set story featuring Gandolfini as Albert, a divorced dad and TV archivist, and Ms. Louis-Dreyfus as divorced mother and masseuse Eva. They meet at a party and bond over their almost empty nests; each has a daughter leaving for college in the fall.

When Albert invites Eva to dinner, she's not sure -- "He's kinda fat," she says to a friend. But they go out, have a very pleasant time, and Eva's opinion evolves. "He's not handsome in your typical kind of way. Now, I find him kind of sexy."

When Albert later surprises Eva with a gift, he wonders, "Maybe I shouldn't have. Is it too soon?"

It's a lovely, gentle moment, a reminder of Gandolfini's talent and range and a bittersweet glimpse of what might have come in other projects had he not died so young.

The "Enough Said" relationship grows complicated when Eva starts to see Albert in a new, unflattering light and he naturally doesn't take kindly to critical and hurtful wisecracks. Driving home with disappointment and anger in his eyes, you see a brief, mild flash of the Jersey mob boss.

In addition to the leads, Ms. Keener plays a poet and massage client; Ms. Collette and Ben Falcone are an often bickering married couple; and Tracey Fairaway is Eva's only child and Tavi Gevinson her best friend, with Eve Hewson (in real life the daughter of U2's Bono) as Albert's sophisticated offspring.

"Enough Said" will resonate with adults who often feel disenfranchised by a diet of superheroes or teen-themed trilogies or violence-soaked action movies or who simply don't relish R-rated material.

Rated PG-13, it sprinkles in comic commentary about changing TV tastes, the divide between younger and older people, how the more a marriage disintegrates the more intolerable habits can become and, as the divorced writer-director likes to say, "one man's heaven is another man's hell."

"Enough Said" made me smile and laugh out loud, squirm at the excruciating moments and admire the way the ending strikes the right note without going overboard or resorting to something improbable or cliched or cloying. It's just enough.

Opens today at AMC-Loews at the Waterfront and Manor in Squirrel Hill.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: First Published September 27, 2013 4:00 AM


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