With Seinfeld‘s Elaine Benes, The New Adventures of Old Christine‘s Christine Campbell, and Veep’s Selina Meyer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has become the all-time comedy Queen of TV by creating over-the-top, looney, abrasive, comic characters. I could never get tired of her doing that, but it’s refreshing to see her take on a mellow character in Enough Said. It’s her first big-screen performance since 1997’s Deconstructing Harry, where she was part of the large Woody Allen ensemble.
Louis-Dreyfus plays Eva, a divorced mom who works as a freelance massage therapist. Her daughter is getting ready to leave for college, and Eva dreads her leaving because of the impending loneliness. She accompanies her friends, Sarah and Will (Toni Collette and Ben Falcone), to a party where she meets Albert (James Gandolfini). While they don’t have any initial physical attraction to each other, it’s the interaction that peaks their interest. How refreshing.
What follows is several scenes of Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini interacting with each other as they start their romance and it’s absolutely delightful. With realistic dialogue from writer/director Nicole Holofcener, the two actors soar in roles that we’ve never seen them take on before. Gandolfini is sweet, quiet, self-depracating, and romantic. Louis-Dreyfus is charming as ever. The two create an unlikely connection that creates some of the best chemistry we’ve seen this year. It’s a shame this ends up being one of Gandolfini’s last roles. I feel like this would have opened up a whole new part of Ganolfini’s career.
The plot of Enough Said ends up being a little contrived (you can figure out what’s going on by the second scene Julia has with Catherine Keener), but the headlining duo pull you through. The subplot of the film with Eva trying to cope with the impending departure of her college-bound daughter is quite good, as she starts to use her daughter’s friend as a substitute.
This is a film absolutely worth seeking out. It’s a sweet romantic comedy that features two veteran actors who bravely ditch their famous screen personas for something totally new and make it look easy.