I’ve now got the tormenting ordeal of reviewing a movie that left me as stumped as Only the Brave did so many months ago. For those that know me personally, they’ll know that Only the Brave gave me a writer’s block that lasted almost five months. On reflection I hated my experience with that movie, but at the same time found the film itself enjoyable to some weird degree. Enough Said is a similar style of movie, but this time it’s a rom-com directed by Nicole Holofcener, and this film has no burning firemen.
Going into this movie, I realised I had a strong cast of American television film stars on my hands, and some heavy hitters they were. The late James Gandolfini slips comfortably into his new typecast role as the loveable loser and Julia Louis-Dreyfus brings up the other half of the film with her energetic performance and other half to Gandolfini’s Albert. Rom-coms are only as enjoyable as their leads, and it’s lucky that Enough Said has two great stars at the centre, with a surprise supporting role from Toni Collette to guide the film along also.
As I’ve just said, the leads of this movie are very enjoyable. There’s a great energy between Dreyfus and Gandolfini that is rivaling a lot of top tier pieces of on-screen chemistry. It’s rather natural, the two work well together and are held in place by some tight and squeaky clean dialogue. Dreyfus is a great actor, as is Gandolfini, the two have made some brilliant films individually. In the Loop was arguably made better by the presence of Gandolfini, who is no stranger to an excellent performance. Dreyfus doesn’t have all that many films under her belt, aside from that horrendous Animal Farm movie I had to sit through all those years ago, but her profile in television with shows such as Veep and Seinfeld (alongside her short stint on Curb Your Enthusiasm) are enough to exude confidence from me in the main cast.
Watching Dreyfus and Gandolfini work together is a true treat, and it’s the sort of film Gandolfini would still be making if he were here with us still. Seeing the two on their dates and the conversations they hold with one another is really enjoyable and a nice spectacle to behold. Every now and then a bit of a blip comes up in the dialogue, but it’s no match for two very likeable leads. But, those blips become more frequent, and there’s only so many good bits of acting that can hide a bad performance. With that in mind though, it’s hard not to overlook the writing at times considering how enjoyable these two lead characters are.
Holofcener has some very solid directing skills, and that’s shown throughout rather well. The opening jokes, specifically the montage of Dreyfus arriving for her job, are done in tremendous fashion. But the humour I was expecting throughout the movie isn’t all that solid and for the most part really doesn’t stick. Some jokes just fall flat, but for the most part there are a few chuckles here and there. It’s never going to be knock out stuff, and I suppose it’s because the movie is more focused on telling us the lives of these characters, rather than making us laugh. But half of a rom-com is indeed the comedy aspect, so it’s a shame to see it lacking.
Still, what the film lacks in comedy it certainly makes up for in romance, providing a love triangle of sorts yet adding this unique and interesting spin to it that actually works to some extent. Dreyfus and Gandolfini have a great on screen chemistry. This chemistry is already enough to create a convincing lead duo, so it’s no surprise that the two are enjoyable on screen together. It’s when they’re not together that the film begins to flounder and worry about what it wants to say and what it’s trying to do. There’s no greater bore in film than not having a direction for the plot to go, and it’s upsetting that Enough Said struggles with this rather frequently.
My main issue with the movie though is that the writing takes us pretty much nowhere interesting. Sure it’s nice and enjoyable to see these characters blossom and head through tribulations that we’d expect of the rom-com genre, but they seem tried and tested, almost like they’re the expected tropes of the genre and that they must be followed to the letter. Leaving an ambiguous ending doesn’t really matter either, especially considering we all know how these happy stories are meant to go. The movie does leave it pretty close to the end to resolve everything though, which did have me doubting whether or not this would be a traditional rom-com, turns out it is.
At times I struggle to consider why I enjoy this film ever so slightly. It’s certainly not a bad movie, and it’s not a good movie either. For all the great performances from pretty much the entire cast and that solid direction from Holofcener, there’s nothing else here. An attempt at re-telling an age old cliche that doesn’t really work considering it becomes the cliche it tries to mock and replicate. It’s an odd movie this one, but it’s still worth checking out just about. Yeah, it’s clunky at times and even bad at one point, but the film is tremendous in picking itself back up at the strangest moments.
It has its fair share of cliche and down-right dull moments, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing Enough Said. For me it’s a bit too boring at times and ever so cliche, relying heavily on the lead performances. Luckily our two lead performers are marvellous, underdogs in their field and able to give us some brilliant performances throughout an incredibly comfortable runtime. If you can hack a pretty unbalanced script and some strange choices in regard to direction, you’ll find yourself at home with this movie. I’m trying to end this paragraph without it being a pun about how I’ve said enough. Too late for that though, isn’t it?