went to see the romantic – sorta – comedy – sorta – ‘Enough Said’ at the weekend. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit sick of Superhero movies.And robots. Too too many robots. So I was – not looking forward to this, exactly – I had reservations – but hopeful. I really wanted it to overcome those reservations.
The last film of the late James Gandolfini, it will best be remembered as his epitaph and it was perhaps an odd epitaph, but I think in a lot of ways it is this that makes the film more than the forgettable and slight ditty it actually is. I’ve never been a fan of the Sopranos but what little I have seen of his work suggests a certain stereotyping and this film both uses those expectations to its advantage and breaks them down, showing the man behind the mobster and his performance, his very distinct physical presence, anchors this movie.
It is definitely of the Woody Allen School of filmmaking. Which currently seems to be the only school on the observational comedy campus. There is the usual therapist speak (there’s even a therapist and one who needs some therapy herself), the self reflexive insights, the dialogue which circles a point ten times but never gets there and, my personal pet hate, the stilted deliberately artificial delivery. This one has dragged on too long.
The irony is that I get the sense there has been a deliberate shift away from this style, to a more natural reflection of American middle class life, yet the actual effect is much the same. They are still so aware of acting natural that no part of it comes across as natural.
‘Enough Said’, is peopled by actors who could too easily slip into this groove without even noticing. Catherine Keener has built her career on independent films like ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Friends with Money’, while Julia Louis Dreyfuss is best known for ‘Seinfeld’, a sit-com which took narcissistic self-awareness to a whole new level. Gandolfini brings to the slick superficial mix a much needed does of reality. His gruff awkwardness and general fish out of water demeanour gives an extra layer to a story sorely lacking in story.
Like too many films these days there is a sense of emptiness that pervades this. The dialogue, is um.. well ..that is.. it.. sorta..maybe.. missing. Very little happens, subplots are more points of interest which never get fully addressed, certainly not resolved, so that they fade into the background. Not in itself an issue, but it leaves the foreground bare. There were a few laughs but they felt more like hiccups of surprise. There’s very little tension, though the denouement was one of the highlights and the passion is as reluctant and self-doubting as our heroine.
In the end what saves it is the charm of the main characters. I liked them as a couple and while they often seemed less invested in their relationship than their friends seemed in their maid’s odd behaviour, I cared enough to want a happy ending. I’m just not sure there was anything there interesting enough to justify the price of a ticket.