Enough Said

Enough Said

***1/2

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

"I've missed you," says Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to Albert (James Gandolfini) near the end of Enough Said. It is a line that now comes with a poignancy transcending anything that writer/director Nicole Holofcener (Walking And Talking, Lovely And Amazing, Friends With Money, Please Give) could ever have intended, given that in the time between this film's production and release, Gandolfini has died.

It could be argued that Enough Said requires such accidental weight to stop it floating off into oblivion. Essentially a middle-aged romantic comedy, it tells the story of Eva, a divorced masseuse whose daughter Ellen (Tracey Faraway) is about to head off for university, and how she hooks up with Albert, a similarly aged divorcé whose own daughter Tess (Eve Hewson) is also leaving to study. Obviously these two soon-to-be-empty-nesters are made for each other, but barriers to their bliss emerge when Eva discovers that Albert is, in fact, the ex-husband of her new client and friend Marianne (Holofcener regular Catherine Keener). Instead of telling either (let alone both) about the coincidence, Eva takes perverse pleasure in hearing Marianne complain about all Albert's worst qualities, even before she has herself properly got to know him, and so starts acting as though her nascent relationship with Albert is already in its autumn years - which, along with the deception itself, has inevitably disastrous consequences.

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All the traditional elements of the romcom are here. There is the meet-cute - at a party where both Eva and Albert are drawn together precisely by their mutual declaration that nobody present is attractive. There is the confidante in the form of Eva's best friend Sarah (Toni Collette). There is the usual narrative progression from the first flush of love, to complications, separation and finally reconciliation. And while neither Albert nor Eva has a rival, there is still something akin to a love triangle in the way that Eva, anxious about losing her daughter, transfers her maternal affections to Ellen's friend Chloe (Tave Gevinson).

Of course the age of the lovers, and the corresponding maturity which that brings to the erotic equation, make a real difference to the norms of this genre. Far from being an ingenue (like, say, Chloe), Eva has already been married and had a child, and is looking as much for a shelter from loneliness as for bedroom fireworks - although she is certainly open to the latter too, given how long it's been since that fuse was lit. And Enough Said is totally up front about the flabby flesh and ingrained habits that can mark the middle years.

Eva and Albert are who they are, having become so over many decades, and in the absence of any great likelihood that either is going to change in any dramatic way, their relationship must be partly rooted in mutual acceptance - which is why it is such a problem that Eva should fixate on Marianne's criticisms of Albert. Holofcener's script is truthful and very funny, while the two leads deliver their lines with the sort of exemplary comic timing that comes from years of finely honed experience.

Ultimately, though, the problem with this film is also precisely what makes it so enjoyable to watch: its lightness. For Enough Said is refreshing and breezy - but also forgotten almost as soon as it has wafted by.

Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2013
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A divorced woman learns the new man in her life is her new friend's ex-husband.
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