You can’t help but feel pangs of heartache watching the trailer for Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said (below), the second-to-last film to feature James Gandolfini (his crime drama Animal Rescue is set for release in 2014). Such is the feeling that Fox Searchlight, who just unveiled the trailer, is surely hoping to elicit with the film itself, which only recently secured a firm release date (the movie opens in select theaters Sept. 20 before a wider rollout). Since Enough Said was previously unlisted on September release schedules, one could certainly presume that the indie studio has bumped it forward to cash in on Gandolfini grief, which feels a bit icky. But, then again, who doesn’t want to see Gandolfini back on screen ASAP, even posthumously, particularly in a film that seems to be, at least where he’s concerned, genuinely tender?
Also an Official Selection at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Enough Said re-teams Holofcener with her go-to gal, Catherine Keener, but, this time, Keener is back-burnered to make room for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini, two HBO pros who hook up as divorcées Eva and Albert, the latter revealed as the ex of Eva’s new friend, Marianne (Keener). Also featuring Toni Collette (who refreshingly doesn’t ditch the Aussie accent), Enough Said has the look and feel of your basic offbeat rom-com, but it boasts the kind of transcendent talents who can deftly bypass formula. It also brings into focus Gandolfini’s singular appeal. When I watch The Sopranos with my partner, he often finds Tony’s unfailing attractiveness to gorgeous women implausible, if not for his girth, then for his general boyish crudeness. “It’s the power,” I often say. These women watch the news and know who this guy is, and being close to the boss with the wealth and the weapons gets them understandably hot. But what about when that power is stripped away? And, as seems to be the case here, all that’s left is a burly, sensitive man whose handsomeness is unexpectedly disarming? Within this preview, Gandolfini steals the show for the obvious and unavoidable reason of his recent untimely death. But the actor has also never appeared more gentle and huggable. And while the bits about his character’s diet have a wince-inducing resonance, the film also looks to highlight that not everyone wants the model. Some people want the teddy bear.