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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

Review: Gandolfini shines in final film foray

Enough Said

Directed by Nicole Holofcener

The recently deceased James Gandolfini was probably best known for his dramatic role in “The Sopranos,” but his comedy work in films like “In the Loop” was arguably just as good. “Enough Said,” written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, allowed him to flex his comedic muscles in some of the most enjoyable scenes in any romantic comedy this year.

Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Albert (Gandolfini) are both middle-aged and divorced with college-bound daughters. After meeting at a party, the two begin to date, and their relationship takes off. It is clear that they have excellent chemistry as they go from awkward to comfortable over the course of their hilarious first date. However, at the same party, Eva also meets and befriends Marianne (Catherine Keener), who is full of complaints about her ex-husband, Albert. Eva’s life gets even more complicated when she realizes her new boyfriend and Marianne’s ex-husband are the same person.

The movie’s greatest strength is in its dialogue, which is reminiscent of Judd Apatow’s films in the way that the characters have conversations about nothing while keeping the audience interested and laughing throughout — just with less bathroom humor.

However, the movie stumbles with Holofcener’s unfocused direction. Instead of making Eva look sympathetic in her conflict, she comes off as annoying and nonsensical. Her decision to keep her realization secret from her friend and new boyfriend is frustrating, and the direction and general storyline do nothing to make the audience root for this character or believe in the conflict at hand. The shifts from humorous to dramatic scenes are poorly timed and executed. While Louis-Dreyfus captures Eva’s annoying attitude well, her acting overshadows the previously witty exchanges between her and Gandolfini.

It is clear that Holofcener is greatly influenced by Apatow and Woody Allen. Unfortunately, she has yet to master their sense of how and when to add dramatic scenes while keeping their comedy consistent. Holofcener pushes her dramatic agenda way too hard while forgetting the comedy that hooked the audience in the first place. While “Enough Said” has many clever and witty moments, it is ultimately inconsistent.