You Will Want To Have Sex With Ghost James Gandolfini So Bad After Watching ‘Enough Said’
For the first half of Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said, you can’t stop thinking about Dead James Gandolfini. Every time he is charming. Every time he is sweet. Every time you would like him and his giant bear body to be snuggling up behind you, instead of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, so happy to have you in his arms, smiling and smiling, happy at last.
Enough Said is an almost perfect romance in a cinematic world that usually throws Katherine Heigl and that repulsive Gerard Butler in our faces. You like Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus so much, and for two hours want nothing more in the world than to watch these two funny, decent, hopeful people fall in love. Would it be so terrible if there wasn’t a Plot and Obstacle to keep the lovers apart for however much of the movie it does? Would it be so bad if we just met two nice people and watched them date and crack jokes and do sex for two hours, and be happy?
And that’s where our only criticism of Enough Said comes in. Catherine Keener here is given the role of Plot And Obstacle; she is both Gandolfini’s ex-wife and Louis-Dreyfus’s new friend, which Louis-Dreyfus tries to keep from both of them. But Keener’s poet is an unlikeable snob whose main character traits are “good taste” and “is friends with Joni Mitchell.” Given a choice between her and cuddly sweetheart Gandolfini, why would Louis-Dreyfus even for a minute have to wonder? Toni Collette plays a similarly terrible friend, all ego and neediness (the punchline: she’s a therapist), but she at least is presented as comic relief. Holofcener, in this case, doesn’t seem to illuminate female friendships or have much to say about them; really, the female friends are just kind of dicks.
But she does have a lot to show about mothers and daughters, as both Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus are sending their daughters off to college. Louis-Dreyfus’s daughter is a good, decent girl just trying to individuate as she leaves, yet she’s still horribly hurt by her mother’s taking in her own best friend as a surrogate daughter (the remarkable and lovely Tavi Gevinson). Gandolfini, meanwhile, has raised a gorgeous, smart, spoiled snob. Holofcener doesn’t bang you in the face with a shovel about it, but seeing Gandolfini’s giant body folded into a tiny Ford Focus or something because his daughter prefers driving his car to hers — and what kind of father wouldn’t give his asshole daughter everything she wants, ever, so she can grow into even more of an asshole — is the kind of note that single mothers who’ve dated single dads will recognize deep down in their horrified souls.
The movie — SPOILER — ends happily, because of course it does. A breakup would have caused a white-people riot. And then you come outside, and realize, again, that James Gandolfini is dead. And you want your money back on that whole “movies are escapism” deal.