Enough Said – 5 stars

Enough Said is an engaging, touching semi-romantic comedy for adults in the target market of 40 to 60. The trials of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a middle aged masseuse, do not include keeping the sex drive hot with the advent of a new baby, or struggling with the fact that all of her friends are married while she is not. Rather, she is divorced, working, plagued by her daughter’s move from LA to NY for college, and the hunt for a man has been reduced to a mere occasional flare. But she meets a man, and his ex-wife, and develops a romance with the former and a friendship with the latter, initially ignorant of their connection. She is soon wise and makes the calamitous decision to use intelligence gathered from the ex-wife to evaluate her new partner.

Enough Said is a beautiful epitaph for James Gandolfini as the love interest, who plays a portly middle-age loner in angst over the departure of his own daughter to college with a subtlety and nuance that may well have freed him from the shackles of Tony Soprano once and for all (the Lord works in mysterious ways, and there is no greater example than having Enough Said released after The Incredible Burt Wonderstone).

Louis-Dreyfus is also impressive. There is no questioning her comedic chops (HBO’s Veep shows how effortless she moves in that milieu), but here, she draws deeper, and slowly reveals repressed fear and insecurity. Not in the paroxysm of a self-revelatory banner speech or after undergoing the withering but “true” dressing down of a gal pal in the penultimate act, but in ascending scenes of awkwardness, comfort, quiet resignation as to her actions toward Gandolfini, and then need.

The film also handles secondary characters with maturity. They err and recover, but we are not let off the hook by cartoonish villains or easy marks. This is a bit of a departure for writer-director Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money), who was previously very tough on her protagonists and supporting characters in a manner that bordered on condescending. Still, in Friends with Money, Holofcener zeroed in on the casual iciness of an outwardly happy marriage between Catherine Keener and Jason Isaacs and her skill depicting the dynamics of couples has not eroded.

One of the, if not the best film of the year.

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