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Film Review: Despite some missteps, just sweet ‘Enough’

Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus confront the uncertainties of adult life in the Avon’s current pick

"We should all just put a sign on ourselves, tell the world what’s wrong with us.”

After a summer of alien invasions and bromances everyone saw coming, the previews and press coverage of “Enough Said” tantalized audiences with the idea of an intricate adult drama devoid of the inevitability of the hero. But the movie, playing at the Avon Cinema through Thursday, lacks the subtleties typical of this grown-up genre — it cannot seem to decide whether it wants to be a summer flick or a winter film, and in the process, it misses out on both.

“Enough Said” cares much more about detailing the uncertainties of relationships — the ones we are never quite able to put a finger on — than about surprising viewers with plot twist after plot twist. To be trite, it is about the journey, not the destination.

The film begins with Eva, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine from “Seinfeld”) taking her portable massage table out of the hatch of her Prius and lugging it up the stairs to her client’s living room — a scene of existentialism even Will Hunting would be proud of.

Eva then attends a cocktail party of grand importance, where she meets her newest massage client —  a poet named Marianne, played by Catherine Keener — and her future boyfriend, Albert, played by the late James Gandolfini, who was best known for his role as Tony Soprano. This is the penultimate movie to star Gandolfini, who died in June.

Albert’s introduction immediately follows Eva’s announcement that there is “no man here I’m attracted to.” Eva must overcome her initial uncertainty about Albert’s appearance,  as well as his bluntness — he openly says, “I like your ass.” But common experiences of divorce and daughters leaving for college eventually bridge the gap.

The wrench in the relationship comes via Marianne, the rich artist who really just wants a friend and who — spoiler alert! — turns out to be Albert’s ex.

Eva predictably gets caught between her developing feelings and Marianne’s bad-mouthing of Albert. The uncomfortable jokes grow repetitive, and the climax — the realization of Eva’s mutual connections ­— steals much from “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” without the added benefit of Ryan Gosling.

At heart, “Enough Said” is really just a teen flick with grown-ups — addressing the belief that as you age, you figure yourself out as a person and can deal with the world in a consistent manner. But it refutes, rather than supports, this idea.

Eva really has no clue. She does not know how to measure who is good enough for her or why she should even care. She does not know how to balance experience and trust, and when she picks Marianne’s brain while dating Albert, it only serves to devastate him.

In teen movies, relationships are awkward because of the characters’ growing pains — they do not know themselves yet. In the world of adults inhabited by Eva and Albert, relationships are awkward because people have fully developed personality traits that they don’t know how to handle.

Director and writer Nicole Holofcener portrays the world Eva and Albert are sending their respective daughters into through the lens of their relationship, a relationship familiar to viewers because it could just as well be any of ours. Watching the movie is an experience of watching human connections in a world that forces you to relate to others in order to be related to, with the constant threat of that sign of yours — the attributes you always will carry — getting in the way.

“Enough Said” would just like to remind you that the sign has two sides.


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