The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Enough Said | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Enough Said

A middle-aged masseuse falls for the overweight ex-husband of her favorite client.

Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette

Divorced masseuse Eva (Dreyfuss) struggles to find a man who can be her equal in terms of wit and sense of humor until, at a party, she meets Albert (Gandolfini), who asks her out for a meal. While she finds him physically unappealing, Eva is charmed by his personality and agrees to the date. The two quickly fall for each other and Eva is the happiest she's been for years until she learns that Albert is the ex-husband of Marianne (Keener), a client Eva has struck up a friendship with. Listening to Marianne's constant bad-mouthing of Albert leads Eva to question whether she herself can have a future with him.
It's becoming all too rare to come across an American comedy whose characters at no point fart, vomit, urinate or lose control of any other bodily functions. Rarer still is to find a comedy that not only appeals to those of us with a mental age above 14, but manages to pack in some biting social commentary in the process.
Comedy and horror may be the most critically maligned of genres but, traditionally, they've been the first to tackle those more uncomfortable social issues. From a female perspective (had 'Enough Said' come from a male film-maker, accusations of misogyny could easily be leveled), Holofcener looks at how the metro-sexualisation of our culture has meant men are now increasingly judged on their appearance in the same manner women have been for generations. 20 years ago, the billboards of our cities were plastered with images of scantily clad young women whereas today you're more likely to see a 20 foot tall six-pack than an exposed cleavage. We even have a popular high street clothing chain that only employs young men with perfectly toned physiques, even forcing them to work shirtless. It's becoming increasingly difficult for men to get by on charm alone and the sad fact is if you're a physically unattractive male, who doesn't pull in a large salary, you're probably destined to spend your life single.
Have women really become so shallow? No. Of course, most women, like Dreyfuss' protagonist here, still favor a man who can make them laugh over one who obsesses over his appearance like a teenage girl. The problem is that, while most men couldn't give a damn how society views them, for too many women today, pleasing their peers has become more important than pleasing their own hearts. This is the dilemma Dreyfuss faces here; whether to please herself by sticking with a man who makes her happy or give in to the judgmental nature of contemporary society. Holofcener approaches it in a realistic and relatable manner, her characters behaving with a cruelty we all too often indulge in. A particularly sadistic scene, in which Dreyfuss humiliates Gandolfini at a dinner gathering, recalls Matthew Modine's cruel beating of Vincent D'Onofrio in 'Full Metal Jacket' or how schoolkids indulge in bullying out of fear of their own victimization.
I must admit I too fell into this judgmental state upon hearing Gadolfini was to play a romantic lead. Within minutes of his appearance here, however, I could see how easily a woman would find him attractive, thanks to the great witty and lovable persona Holofcener creates for the actor. His last role before his premature death earlier this year shows what great range Gandolfini has and his constant type-casting in tough guy roles explicitly illustrates the point Holofcener is making here. Hollywood casting directors, it seems, are as superficial as the rest of us.

Eric Hillis