MRR Review:"Enough Said"

Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

MRR Review:"Enough Said"

Rating: PG-13
Length: 93 minutes
Release Date: January 4, 2013
Directed by: Nichole Holofcener
Genre: Comedy

Romantic comedies are often hit-and-miss proposals. Many modern versions tend toward an emphasis on romance over the comedic elements. It often seems that only zany films that are more focused on gags and sight jokes try to emphasize the humor in relationships. "Enough Said" manages to walk the tightrope between romance and comedy fairly well, but it slips into comedic territory more often than not. Quick one-liners and jokes that often come at the expense of potentially heartfelt moments are all too prevalent. This gives the overall movie experience more of the feel of a television sitcom than a standard theatrical romantic comedy, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

"Enough Said" relates the fictional tale of a masseuse named Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) who meets and falls for a witty and amusing man named Albert (James Gandolfini). Along the way, she makes a new friend, Marianne (Catherine Keener), who also seems perfect in just about every way. The obvious issue with Marianne is her obsession over the faults of her ex-husband, Albert. Many different actors pop in to fill the roles of Eva's other clients, but the feel of the movie is close to that of a three-person play, as the story revolves around the discovery of the relationships between the three main characters.

The acting in "Enough Said" is definitely believable. Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini have excellent onscreen chemistry, though the constant barrage of witticisms and dry humor may seem to erode some of it at times. Keener delivers a brilliant performance as a woman who teeters on the edge of spite and jealousy regarding her ex-husband, never falling into the easy cardboard stereotypes of the bitter ex-wife or jaded former lover. This is no easy feat when delivering lines clearly written with a comedic slant. Additional actors, including Lennie Loftin, Jessica St. Clair, and Chris Smith as massage clients, help smooth the interactions between the main characters. None of the supporting cast really overtakes the main trio, instead providing additional ammunition for the continual series of gags written into the script.

The cinematography of the film is one more place where it hearkens back to situation comedy television instead of traditional Hollywood romantic comedies. The many quick transitions are likely to remind viewers more of "Cheers" or "Will and Grace" than "Sleepless in Seattle." Likewise, the camera angles often strive to capture only the main performers and their background stages, with few of the sweeping, evocative images Hollywood often doles out in such films. The sound and lighting are, however, exactly what you would expect from a big-budget romantic film.

The script itself is a great source of humor and emotional involvement. The subplots of the main characters experiencing impending empty-nest syndrome and coming to grips with their own personal lives outside of the skewed love triangle are woven exceptionally well into the overall story. This provides an excellent measure of each character, allowing viewers to reach into their inner lives beyond the immediate romance. The jokes are often spot-on, though it is apparent when they occasionally fall flat. This may be due to delivery as much as writing, though it does create some seemingly unintentionally awkward moments between the characters.

The choices of the director may seem off-putting to some fans of the romantic comedy genre, but those looking for a more lighthearted romp through modern romance are likely to be pleased with the result. Comedy is often chosen over romance to the point that the characters may seem more like long-time friends than potential or former lovers. The choice of the setting and action of the characters is excellent, however. Each character moves and reacts on the screen as you would expect in real-life, despite conversations that may threaten the seriousness of some moments with failed attempts at humor. This is a testament as much to the prowess of Nichole Holofcener as the actors.

"Enough Said" is definitely a worthwhile trip for those looking for an enjoyable evening out with a date or pack of friends. The occasional failed joke or awkward line fails to mar the overall excellence of the piece. Unlike many romantic comedies that end up tearjerkers, this one is likely to keep viewers rolling in the aisles for most of the film. The movie is likely to find favor with those looking for a good time out with close friends as well as first dates or those looking for a twist on the romantic comedy formula that dominates so many modern films.

Rating: 4 out of 5