Enough Said

An accurate review of this film could have simply said, “I really didn’t like it, enough said”.

Enough SaidAs we all know, instincts, good or bad, play a significant role in everyone’s life. Though they can trick you, many times they simply help prevent avoidable mistakes.

Which is precisely why I trust my instincts when it comes to movie reviews. Mercifully, I usually get a quick idea on a producer trying to falsely spin a weak movie, and those are films that even I tend to avoid.

Which is precisely why I am one of the late comers to see the highly praised Gandolfini/Louis-Dreyfus film Enough Said. Right or wrong, the previews always seemed to indicate a film that was short on substance despite the fact that everyone wanted to pay homage to the late James Gandolfini. I mean, who thought it was funny that Gandolfini would greet Louis-Dreyfus at his door in a bad set of pajamas?

And with all due respect to those who professed a love of this movie, I found it forced and unsatisfying from the beginning. Frequently as foolish as it was banal, how are you really supposed to believe that a likeable soul like Julia Louis-Dreyfus could possibly befriend the ex-wife of a guy she just started to date? More importantly, how could you excuse her shallow inability to tell either of these individuals of her dilemma, leaving them not only betrayed but feeling left floating in the wind?

Gandolfini admitted in interviews at the time that he originally felt miscast in this role. Quite frankly, I think he was correct. Though jokes were constantly made about his weight and slovenliness, the fact was that he was overweight and slovenly. Other than the fact that he was the legendary James Gandolfini, what could any woman like Ms. Louis-Dreyfus remotely find endearing about the guy he played in this film?

Ms. Louis-Dreyfus plays her usual charming, long-suffering woman trying to make ends meet. However, as she does with her new friends, she even insults her graduating high school senior daughter by spending time with her confused personal friend. No one plays clueless better than Ms. Louis-Dreyfus, but she is hard to find remotely acceptable in this film.

The movie is somewhat saved by the performances of Catherine Keener and Toni Collette, but they are little more than characters along for the ride. Ms. Keener is the ex-wife of Gandolfini who is very open about his perceived weaknesses, yet she often appears to be a bitter woman toiling in limbo.

Ms. Collette, a personal friend of Ms. Louis-Dreyfus, is one of the few people in the film that you develop a bit of understanding and sympathy. On the other hand, she unfortunately joins Ms. Keener and Ms. Louis-Dreyfus as divorced women trapped in a past that they cannot escape.

In the end, I’m glad I saw the film, as I joined a large group wanting to pay a small tribute to Mr. Gandolfini. He joins a pantheon of late actors like Peter O’Toole, Annette Funicello, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple and Sid Caesar who said goodbye to all of us this year. For many of us, Mr. Gandolfini shall always be Tony Soprano, and that’s good enough for me.