James Gandolfini’s second-to-last on-screen performance in “Enough Said” is delighting critics, and redeeming an otherwise clichéd rom-com.
After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, the movie nabbed a 100% approval rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes.
“Enough Said” follows two soon-to-be empty-nesters as they prepare for their daughters’ departures for college. A romantic spark ignites between the divorcés: Gandolfini as a self-effacing, charming everyman and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a chatterbox masseuse. Their second chance at love is complicated when Louis-Dreyfus’s character discovers her new beau is the ex-husband of a client, who constantly complains about him.
The rom-com’s shortcomings — namely, a tired plot twist — are outweighed by the pair’s relatable, aww-inducing performances.
Gandolfini is best known for his nine-year stint on “The Sopranos,” for which he won three Emmys and a Golden Globe. The New Jersey-born actor died of a heart attack at the age of 51 in June.
Gandolfini’s final film, “Animal Rescue,” rolls out in 2014.
Here’s what the critics are saying about “Enough Said”:
Director Nicole Holofcener’s personal life is apparent throughout.
“A good amount of Nicole Holofcener can be found in a Nicole Holofcener movie. The writer and director, who has made five features, draws from personal thoughts and experiences to build her lived-in, reflective comedies.”
The plot twist is predictable, but at least Holofcener gets it out of the way early:
“While it retains the somewhat shapeless, character-driven story approach that has characterised all the writer-director’s work so far, ‘Enough Said’ hinges on a plot twist that is fairly guessable from the get-go, making it a relief that the script gets it out of the way early on.”
“It’s a coincidence right out of ‘Three’s Company,’ but ‘Enough Said’ is deeper and richer than that. It shows us how rare love is — and how we need to grab it and not let it go.”
“Nicole Holofcener’s script is not her strongest, too reliant upon a plot contrivance.”
We see a new side of Gandolfini.
“The performance suggests that the actor had greater range than his prior roles had allowed him to display or develop; to see him reveal such open, good-humored humanity in this film spurs pangs of emotion and sorrow for his passing at unpredictable moments throughout the film.”
“Warmth radiates from Gandolfini throughout the film’s 91 minute running time. Despite the many jibes thrown his way by lovers and ex-lovers alike he never once shows even a glimpses of that temper we associate with Gandolfini’s most famous character.”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s return to the silver screen is charming, but flawed:
“This is Louis-Dreyfus’ first live-action film role since she appeared in Allen’s ‘Deconstructing Harry’ (1997), and while she’s a frequently delightful presence here, her arsenal of funny expressions and unthinking outbursts at times suggest glib sitcom beats rather than the tics of a fully rounded character.”
“[Louis-Dreyfus] sometimes falls into the familiar mannerisms we’ve seen in her television work, but for the most part her comedic timing and unexpected vulnerability make you wish we didn’t have to wait 16 years to see her on the big screen again.”
At the very least, it’s incredibly heart-warming:
“It begins to run out of steam in the final third but audiences will happily stay the course because of the emotional investment they have been encouraged to make in the fate of the central duo.”
“There are no big special effects, or visually ambitious sequences, but this is kind of movie we’d take any day of the week over the latest hundred million dollar blockbuster. Holofcener’s action centrepiece doesn’t involve capes but emotions, and they ring clear and true in a film that touchingly and realistically highlights all we still have to learn about the people we chose to spend our lives with.”
“Enough Said” arrives in a limited theatre release on September 18.
Watch the trailer:
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