Theres an amusing wistfulness to Nicole Holofceners latest exploration of woman and love, Enough Said. And since it co-stars James Gandolfini, you can throw in a touch of melancholy, a sort of dark cloud that hangs over an otherwise light and hopeful L.A. romance among those pushing 50.
Gandolfini gives a poignancy to one of his last screen appearances that will live on past his death.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a long-divorced single mom and massage therapist. Her job is a bore, her daughter (Tracey Fairaway) is about to move off to college and shes resigned to the shrinking dating scene she faces.
Then, Eva joins her friends (Toni Collette, Ben Falcone) for a party. Thats where she meets Marianne (Catherine Keener). She could be a new customer and maybe even a new friend.
And then Eva meets the portly, frumpy Albert (Gandolfini), who clicks with her because they both find no one at this party Im attracted to. Theyre both down on rude younger people. He finds her random, inappropriate wisecracks funny, and hes able to make her laugh, too.
They date, even though shes hesitant. She tries not to judge the way he loads his low-fat yogurt with M&Ms or look askance at his Sunday sweatpants routine.
That becomes tricky when Eva realizes that the ex-husband her new client / pal Marianne is constantly griping about is named Albert. Her Fat Albert must be Mariannes Fat Albert.
Thats a slim coincidence to build a movie on, but Dreyfus makes the most of it letting us see the wheels turn as Eva starts looking for the same faults that her friend saw in Albert, and then tries to figure out how to address this problem of revealing to one that she knows the other. Dreyfus wears Evas neediness on her sleeve, reaching for her sounding board (Collettes character is a shrink), clinging to a teenager who actually listens to her, her daughters best friend.
Whats fun here, to a point, is the collision of sensibilities. Dreyfus has made this sort of lovelorn joker her specialty, with a Seinfeld-polished bag of expressions, laughs and acting moves.
Work Dreyfuss shtick into Holofceners cycle of screen journeys through life, which includes Lovely & Amazing, Friends with Money and Please Give, co-starring her muse, Keener, and what comes out is wistful, a shallow character trying not to be, upset when others see past her facade and can judge her the same way she judges them.
Gandolfini is charming and winning, even as the butt of too many weight/ calorie jokes to let us forget that he died overweight and too young this year.