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Enough is Enough

February 1, 2014

Here’s the set-up. There’s a banana peel lying on the sidewalk. Up the block we see Laurel and Hardy round the corner. What happens next, well,  you connect the dots.

That encapsulates the way I felt as I wrote this week’s post about Nicole Holofcener’s film Enough Said.

A virtual “banana peel” loomed large before me. Quick, what’s the number for the Keystone (RE: PC) Kops?

I found it interesting that in Enough Said, Nicole Holofcener, often touted as the “Woody Allen” of modern “chick flicks,” gives us emotionally mature and complex male characters (James Gandolfini as Albert).

In fact, the men seem more complex and nuanced than the female protagonists (Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Eva and Catherine Keener as Marianne).

This brings up something that’s always underwhelmed me about Holfcener’s films. They seem limited, focusing on those privileged, self-actualizated folks who live north of Montana Avenue in Santa Monica, California.

The dialog is always clever, wry, laced with particular insights expressive of a particular class. The words skate along on the surface of things. Critics tout Holofcener’s  highly believable dialogue. But I feel it’s more a “secret handshake” kind of thing, spoken only by those upwardly mobile select few. And I feel she places her characters in contrived situations that don’t create any semblance of dramatic tension. The filmmaking ultimately suffers, too much tell, not enough show.

Meanwhile, in his last film, James Gandolfini once again elevates the material…

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