There's nothing like a posthumous performance by a widely admired actor to fundamentally alter the experience of a movie. Enough Said won't be the last film to star James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano from HBO's The Sopranos), who died of a heart attack in June at age 51. That distinction will go to next year's Animal Rescue, a crime drama written by celebrated author Dennis Lehane (Mystic River). But Enough Said's inevitable starting point a certain poignancy, especially once we get acquainted with Gandolfini's unlikely romantic lead, Albert. He's middle-aged, substantially overweight and a self-described slob. No sparks fly when he meets Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), but that allows their relationship to evolve in small steps that ring true to the experience of two people who've been around the block too many times to count but haven't given up on life.
Though Enough Said has ample substance to rise above the stream of formula romantic comedies churned out by Hollywood, it still gets weighed down by the genre's too-familiar tropes. The overly earnest music and individual scenes crafted solely to tug at the heartstrings leave no doubt about the film's designs on mainstream audiences. In her five previous films, including Friends With Money and Please Give, director Nicole Holofcener has often shown the wit one might expect from someone who grew up on the sets of Woody Allen movies (Holofcener's stepfather was Charles H. Joffe, who served as Allen's co-producer for 25 years). Enough Said is no exception, even if Louis-Dreyfus' Eva represents yet another variation on her indelible Elaine from Seinfeld. It's not exactly news that middle-aged people need love too. But it's a welcome surprise to see it on the big screen. — KEN KORMAN