By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

My biggest complaint about romantic comedies remains that the plots are all so cookie-cutter similar. That applies to this middle-aged, divorcee version in Enough Said. Now that said, the writing and performances of the cast definitely elevates this movie above the usual rom-com. Writer/director Nicole Holofcener does some outstanding work developing a sweet romance between characters Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Albert (James Gandolfini) and provides plenty of comedic gold in the film’s hilariously awkward dating scenarios. The film also features solid, slightly heartbreaking relationship drama that feels genuine and true. Making this an even more bittersweet experience is knowing that this is one of the last performances of acting talent Gandolfini, whom the world lost a few months ago.

Professional masseuse and divorced mother Eva is used to  dealing with people in awkward situations in her line of work. Eva’s personal life begins to take a tremendously awkward turn when she meets two people at a friend’s party. She meets Marianne (Catherine Keener), a poet seeking her professional help. Their relationship develops into friendship as they bond over their marriage horror stories.  Eva also meets Albert, another unlucky-in-love divorced parent who becomes smitten with her. While dating Albert and massaging Marianne, Eva begins to realize that Albert is Marianne’s nasty and loathsome sounding ex-husband whom she describes in great detail during their massage sessions.  Even though Eva likes Albert very much, she begins to see some of the more irritating habits in Albert which drove Marianne crazy.

Both Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini deliver wonderfully charming performances in their respective roles and share a beautiful chemistry that makes their onscreen relationship credible. They both have superb comic timing, especially in the more uncomfortable and embarrassing scenes.  They both truly put their heart into their characters, making them lovable and sympathetic. The movie also features commendable turns by Catherine Keener, Toni Collette and Ben Falcone. The cast does have solid material with which to work.

Holofcener’s script hits mostly all the right notes and offers the cast the opportunity to naturally fill their roles. This movie could have remained as a typical romantic comedy, but because Holofcener makes it all feel authentic and organic, the finished product comes across as a real slice of life. Most middle-aged people who have had their share of dating experiences both before and after marriage will be able to relate to the situations of the main characters. Most people who fall within the Albert and Eva age range will smile and laugh as they remember their own takes on these scenarios.

Because Nicole Holofcener comes from a candidly heartfelt place,  this makes the film much better than the typical romantic comedy. Teens and younger adults may not appreciate the material and content as much as those in the 30-55 age range, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t find enjoyment and sentimentality in the story and characters. Gandolfini and Louis-Dreyfus exude enough sweet charm through their characters to make this film enjoyable for most older teens and up. If looking for a great date movie to share laughs and cuddles, this is the film to catch.

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