October 29, 2013

A Film Worth Watching, Enough Said

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By JULIA MOSER

Finding love is a difficult thing to do, as many a film has shown. That task becomes even more difficult for two individuals who are divorced, have children and a whole laundry list of emotional baggage. This is the subject of Nicole Holofcener’s (Please Give) new film, Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a middle-aged, down-to-earth, yet insecure massage-therapist and divorcée with a teenage daughter about to leave for college. To combat Eva’s impending loneliness, her best friends, played by Toni Collette and Ben Falcone (Air Marshall John in Bridesmaids) drag her to a party to get her out of the house. Eva exclaims that she finds no one at the party attractive, and lo and behold, neither does Albert.

Albert (James Gandolfini) is also middle-aged, also divorced and also has a teenage daughter about to leave for college. Despite the fact that neither one of them professes any attraction to the other, Albert gets Eva’s number from a mutual friend and asks her out. The two of them get along wonderfully and can barely pause to eat their food through all the laughs they have.

Everything is going swimmingly for Eva and Albert, who are beginning to build a relationship in which both parties are secure about their age and their flaws and have decided to accept those aspects about themselves and each other. Their banter is wonderfully written and a pleasure to watch. James Gandolfini is charming and witty and Louis-Dreyfus is hilarious.

There is only one problem with their blossoming relationship: Eva has met another charming individual, Albert’s ex-wife, Marianne, played by Catherine Keener.

Marianne becomes Eva’s new client, and eventually the two of them become friends — complaining about their exes and their current relationships to one another without realizing that there is some overlap between the two categories. Eventually Eva catches on, and though she knows she should say something, she doesn’t want to lose Marianne, on whom she has somewhat of a girl-crush on, as a friend. Additionally, Eva, afraid of getting hurt again, is intrigued to know all the dirty details and complaints about her new boyfriend from the expert.

The very premise of Enough Said is a tad cringe-worthy. The fact that Eva knows her new friend and boyfriend had been married is by definition fraught with hilarious yet painfully embarrassing moments —  especially when Eva literally must hide behind a bush to avoid meeting Marianne’s daughter, who she has already met with Albert.

Because this is a comedy with a happy ending, ultimately Eva is discovered. However, my main problem with the film is that the awkwardly painful part went on far too long. Louis-Dreyfus is unbelievably amazing and I would watch her make funny faces and snarky comments all day, but Gandolfini’s character was so nice and unpresuming that by the time she got caught, I felt like Eva didn’t deserve Albert. I was almost annoyed by the hopeful ending.

Another problem is the side plots. While Toni Collette and Ben Falcone were amusing and I thoroughly enjoyed their presence for the most part, their marital problems didn’t seem to have a purpose in the story. They fought throughout the entire film, and I wasn’t sure whether Holofcener was trying to imply that even happily married couples deal with relationship drama, or that that the two characters would eventually get divorced too.

Additionally, a plotline that involved Eva’s daughter’s best friend, played surprisingly by the fashion protégé Tavi Gevinson (founder of Rookie Mag), seemed to lack further meaning.

I don’t mean to say that these plotlines were not enjoyable. Overall, the film was consistently funny while also being sadly profound about the insecurities and fears that limit one’s relationships. Yet those issues made the ending somewhat unsatisfying.

Both lead actors are phenomenal in their respective roles, and Louis-Dreyfus, who recently won an Emmy for her performance as the Vice President on HBO’s Veep, demonstrates a refreshing soft side in this film. Enough Said is also one of Gandolfini’s, who passed away this summer, final films. He is endearing and clever and perfectly suited to the role of Albert. Though I definitely had some issues with overarching storyline, the film is definitely worth watching.

Julia Moser is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at jmoser@cornellsun.com.

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