Friday, October 4, 2013

Enough Said (Rhoades)

“Enough Said”
Has a Lot to Say

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

What if your girlfriend sounded just like an instant replay of your ex-wife? Picking at the same faults. Criticizing your manners. Complaining about your lovemaking. Harping on your weight. You might start wondering why you traded in one model for another.

“Enough Said” -- the new comedy at the Tropic Cinema -- takes that premise to the point of absurdity.
Turns out that Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Seinfeld” fame) is dating the ex-husband of her masseuse client Marianne (Catherine Kenner). She’s heard the woman rag about her ex, but little did she realize that this flawed specimen is none other than Albert (James Gandolfini), the sweet but eccentric man that she’s just started dating.

Both Eva and Albert are single parents with a lot in common. And she’s “just getting to really like him,” she tells confidante Sarah (Toni Collette). But then Eva connects the dots between her client’s imperfect ex-husband and her own imperfect boyfriend.

Can she keep from parroting these criticisms? Or is this her way of avoiding the risks of emotional entanglement?

Will this “aesthetically mismatched” couple survive getting to know each other? Best wait and see. As we know, love can be a bumpy ride.

Julia Louis-Dreyfuss sums up her character: “Eva’s a woman who’s facing all these changes – her daughter leaving for college, this sense of being romantically stuck in a rut – that are wreaking an emotional havoc on her to an extent she’s not even aware of. Then she meets somebody who likes her – and she proceeds to do this horrible, horrible thing. Of course she does, right? [Laughs] She’s got a little problem with relationship boundaries. It’s what sort of, I would say, fuels her very, very, very, bad decision-making.”

Louis-Dreyfuss adds, “I understood why she did it. She really, really, really was just trying desperately to protect herself and in so doing she obliterates a lot of stuff.”

James Gandolfini (TV’s “The Sopranos”) gives a gentle, but memorable performance as Albert, an exec at the Library of American Television who has an encyclopedic knowledge of Saturday morning cartoons. A big, bearded bear of a man, he dwarfs the diminutive Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a Mutt-and-Jeff way. But she can hold her own as a comedienne, taking that likeable Elaine personality and wrapping it around a completely new character.

Louis-Dreyfus has a knack for playing characters that can seem unlikable and self-centered. After all, she was on a show that “pushed the idea of how unlikable someone could be and still be funny…”

“Shame and humiliation are my comic bread and butter,” the actress quips.

“Enough Said” was directed by Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give,” “Friends With Money”). You might sense a certain angst in her films. Her stepfather Charles Joffe was the longtime producer of Woody Allen’s films. Holofcener apprenticed her filmmaking skills on “A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy” and “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus took the role because of Nicole Holofcener. “A big fan!” she calls herself. “I was a huge admirer of her movies. I mean, is anyone besides Nicole even making these kinds of movies any more? The kind where people who are over 30 talk about bad decisions and life struggles and failures? And do it in a way that’s funny?

In June, James Gandolfini unexpectedly died from a heart attack while vacationing in Italy.
Louis-Dreyfuss recalls getting to know James Gandolfini. “I’d met him socially at a couple of events, but only to say ‘Hi’ and la-la-la, not lengthy conversations or anything like that. And then on this movie we got together, to sort of work on it and talk about it and read scenes. We immediately hit it off.

“He is such – was such – a gifted actor that it was easy to do long, conversation-driven scenes with him. I mean, I love doing those kinds of scenes anyway, and a lot of work always goes into making two people talking onscreen seem natural. With Jim, though, it really did feel natural.”

Far from being the fearsome mob boss Tony Soprano, Gandolfini once described himself as “a 260-pound Woody Allen.” His former co-star Brad Pitt called him as “a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man.” And Julia Louis-Dreyfus said, “The man was a generous actor, 100 percent. It was a joy to work with him.”

‘Nuff said.

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