Monday, September 16, 2013
Parents' Night Out: 'Enough Said'
Enough Said, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late, great James Gandolfini, is about second chances. Lots of them.
The romantic dramedy, from writer-director Nicole Holofcener that hits theaters Sept. 18, centers on Eva (Louis-Dreyfus), a divorced masseuse who's starting to feel the emotional pangs that come with having a daughter (Tracey Fairaway) who's about to leave for college.
While out at a party with her tensely married (in a funny way) friends (Toni Collette and Ben Falcone), she meets Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet who will become one of her clients, and Albert (Gandolfini). After an awkward introduction, a romance between Eva and Albert starts to bloom.
Turns out, Albert is about to be an empty nester himself, as his own daughter (Eve Hewson) is eager to leave Los Angeles for New York to study fashion. While Eva and Albert go through the requisite awkward moments of new love, they also have to navigate the fact that they have baggage, for better or worse.
What makes everything complicated (I won't give anything away) is Marianne, who is really down on her ex. All of her nitpicking and negativity eventually rubs off on Eva, who then second-guesses her relationship with Albert.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus is funny and relatable, as she plays both loving mom and awkward dater. You can see that she's interested in Albert—genuinely likes him—but has been through this whole love thing before and wants to make sure this one will stick.
Gandolfini is endearing and, yes, a little schlubby as Albert—totally playing against his Tony Soprano type. He's warm, totally gaga over Eva, and willing to open himself up after a bitter divorce.
Once the nitpicking starts—from Marianne and then Eva—things go from complicated to downright cringe-worthy. Louis-Dreyfus handles this well as an actress, because even as she starts picking on Albert you still see that she's trying to protect herself through it all. Basically, we don't totally hate her. (We just want to sit her down and set her straight.)
At some point, though, there's a limit to what one make can take—even from the woman he loves.
Enough Said is a great date night movie for parents, if only because we can relate to how long-lasting relationships work—and don't work. How we can sometimes go down the nitpicky road (Collette and Falcone are hilarious in some of these moments) and how we love our kids so much that it's hard to imagine them going anywhere without us—even to college.
But most of all, it's about mature love—about how we mess up, recognize our own petty faults, and then try to pick up the pieces. Hopefully with a little laughter thrown in.