'Enough Said': James Gandolfini is the best part of the romantic comedy

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

'Enough Said' gets a little too sitcom-y at times, but the recent death of 'Sopranos' actor James Gandolfini makes his performance even more poignant.

Lacey Terrell/Fox Searchlight/AP
'Enough Said' stars James Gandolfini.

Writer-director Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give,” “Friends With Money”) has a reputation I’ve never entirely endorsed for edgy, relationship-centric indie films. There’s more mush than barb in her work.

“Enough Said,” which co-stars the late James Gandolfini in one of his last movie performances, is her most mainstream job yet. That’s not altogether a bad thing. Its unpretentiousness has its quasi-Woody Allen side.

Albert (Gandolfini) and Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), both divorced, both sharing custody of college-bound daughters, meet at a party and quickly become a couple. He works at a television museum in Los Angeles; she’s a massage therapist. Since the actors have genuine chemistry – not always a given in relationship movies – the relationship clicks for us as well as for them.

Holofcener relies too much on sitcom situations and she encourages too much sitcom mugging from Louis-Dreyfus. Thankfully, she doesn’t exploit the material’s more farcical elements once a newfound friend of Eva's, played by Catherine Keener, turns out to be something else again.

Best is Gandolfini’s sensitive-guy-in-a-bulky-physique performance. He was a marvelously versatile actor, and, with the knowledge that he is gone, it’s doubly poignant to watch him here. Grade: B (Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual content, comic violence, language and partial nudity.)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.