Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Enough Said: DVD Review

Enough Said may not have been James Gandolfini’s last film, but it’s a poignant reminder that the late Sopranos star, nearly always cast as a heavy or a gangster, could be surprisingly tender when he got the chance. There’s evidence of this scattered across his career: his supporting role in The Mexican, the
“shadow life” sequences in the final season of The Sopranos, his gentle voice work in the animated film Where the Wild Things Are. But everyone saw him as the archetypal tough Jersey tough, which is why it’s an enlightened bit of casting that placed him at the centre of a romantic comedy at the very end of his career, and cannier still to have Julia-Louis Dreyfus play opposite him.

Eva (Dreyfus) and Albert (Gandolfini) are both divorced and in their 50s. He’s rich enough to not have to work anymore, while Eva, a personal masseuse, lugs her table from one client’s house to another. They meet at a party and though the svelte, finicky Eva isn’t particularly attracted at first by this shy bear of a man, she agrees to do go to dinner with him. They hit it off and tentatively ease into a relationship.

Unfortunately, instead of exploring the ins and outs of a romantic relationship between two over-the-hill single parents, Enough Said chooses this moment to turn into a more formulaic rom-com. Eva has struck up a friendship with one of her clients, a flighty poet, and it soon becomes clear that the ex-husband Marianne (Catherine Keener) keeps complaining about is Albert. It also becomes dispiritingly evident that the film will contrive to have Eva find out about this in an unnecessarily dramatic fashion and then begin to find fault with Albert herself. Yet, the two of them are such decent characters that they don’t really have the heart to attack each other. So the film squirms its way towards a reconciliation which comes way too late and leaves Dreyfus playing a version of her commitment-phobic character from Seinfeld. Still, when Gandolfini and Dreyfus are on screen, Enough Said is funny and entirely winning. The special features include short interviews with the cast and director Julia Holofcener. 

This review appeared in Time Out Delhi.

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