Love is in the air!
It is very active decision on my part not to include the trailer for Enough Said in this post. Like too many a trailer these days, it reveals too much of the plot, ruins too many jokes, and leaves little to the imagination of the viewer. (Having said all that, it is cut to “German Love” by STRFKR, which is a commendable cutesy-indie soundtrack choice.) The film stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva, a divorced massage-therapist with a daughter soon to be leaving for college, and James Gandolfini, also divorced with a college-bound daughter, both hoping to find a better love the second time around. With that in mind, it’s pretty easy to conclude that Enough Said follows a predictable romantic trajectory—or at least, the new predictable rom-com trajectory. It’s full of those uncomfortable moments, idiosyncratic characters, and cringe-worthy statements that fill the current independent romantic film genre, a comment that I’m aware I made about last week’s In a World… But Louis-Dreyfus is as great a comedian as ever, and the film is certainly funny, if wildly uncomfortable. There is more to the film than pure comedy; in a more tender moment, Eva tells Albert, “I’m tired of being funny,” and we feel the emotional exhaustion of a woman hiding behind humor.
Enough Said focuses on a fairly untapped demographic in the rom-com genre: middle-aged, not-so-good-looking people. Let me clarify: I’d never call Louis-Dreyfus unattractive, but surely we can agree that the late Gandolfini, whatever his other talents may be, did not get by on his looks. He’s big and hairy and losing his hair, and Louis-Dreyfus declares at the party at which she meets him that she is not attracted to a single person present. And while we have become adjusted to the independent film industry making romantic comedies about less glamourous people—Demitri Martin of In a World…, for example, is no Brad Pitt —it does still seem highly irregular to have an older, actively un-sexy man assume the romantic lead. The boys on Girls may not be heartthrobs by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re still in their 20s and thin, and thus the idea of them having sex seems much less bizarre than watching Gandolfini clumsily fondle Louis-Dreyfus. Continue Reading
If you have a chance before Friday, you should actually attempt to catch a showing of In a World… at the Avon. The film won Best Screenplay at Sundance this year, and tells a sweet coming-of-age (in your 30s) story of a woman desperate to break into the voiceover industry, in which her father is already a huge star. Lake Bell starred in, wrote, and directed the film, whose title stems from the commonly used phrase in movie trailers. Bell’s directorial debut, In a World… has a pretty fantastic balance of cutesy-realistic love story, eccentric but well-written family dynamic, and feel-good female empowerment moments. You could call the film formulaic, but regardless, when you get the elements of the formula down so well, you end up with a great result.
Bell has a familiar face. She has made appearances in many a mediocre romantic comedy during the last few years (the awkward girl in No Strings Attached, the crazy second wife in It’s Complicated, the best friend in What Happens in Vegas), but perhaps most importantly, she was the love interest/female lead in HBO’s short-lived but critically acclaimed How to Make it in America.