Wesley Emblidge ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
We see many indie filmmakers start out with a small, modestly budgeted personal movie and then move on to bigger and (sometimes) better things. Just look at Colin Trevorrow, who made his feature debut last year with Safety Not Guaranteed, a very small quirky comedy, and now is working on pre-production for the latest Jurassic Park movie. Nicole Holofcener on the other hand, has never really broken away from what she started out with. Her 1996 debut Walking and Talking (starring Catherine Keener, who would go on to appear in all of Holofcener’s later films) was a low key relationship-centered dramedy that feels very personal and true to life. Five films later, with Enough Said, Holofcener hasn’t really changed much. Although it’s better than her first film 17 years ago, it doesn’t show much growth or change for Holofcener, remaining a pleasant but somewhat forgettable comedy.
Divorced massage therapist Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is struggling with her daughter (Tracey Fairaway) leaving soon for college, and when she meets Albert (the late James Gandolfini, in his second to last performance) at a party they hit it off talking about their kids leaving. They develop a relationship, one built on what they’re both learned from their past, but slowly Eva starts noticing more and more aspects of Albert that bother her. There’s a twist midway through the movie that, although the trailers reveal, I’d rather not spoil, but it’s what eventually really puts the plot in motion.
There is also an array of subplots, including the horribly underdeveloped troubled relationship between two of Eva’s friends (Toni Collette and Ben Falcone), Eva becoming friends with a new client (Catherine Keener, taking a smaller role than she’s had in all of Holofcener’s previous films), and her struggling relationship with her daughter. Really, the latter is far more interesting than the romance Holofcener chooses to focus on, yet it’s also underdeveloped and constantly sidestepped in favor of scenes with other unimportant characters. The most emotional scene in the film comes from an interaction between Eva and her daughter, and yet we’re spending a ton of time on a subplot of her friends struggling to figure out how they should fire their maid. Holofcener is often criticized for how her movies are mainly focused on “first world problems,” and it’s easy to see why here.
Even with somewhat limited resources, most of the cast is excellent. In particular, James Gandolfini brings a quiet and subdued quality to Albert, making his recent passing all the more upsetting. Louis-Dreyfus also fits perfectly into the lead, suggesting she could, like Keener, become a regular in Holofcener’s films.
What’s frustrating about Enough Said is where it wastes its potential, spending time on so many little useless plotlines that are occasionally funny but take time away that we could be spending with more interesting characters. Despite this, Enough Said is still funny, enjoyable, and brutally honest in moments, making it well worth a look.