Sunday, October 27, 2013

Movie Review: "Enough Said" (2013)

Pacing is an important factor to filmmaking that is often neglected and hard to describe adequately. As the actions and suspense begin to build up, the pace at which the scene moves is key. Do you take it slow to keep the audience guessing what will happen? Or do you ramp it up and get the viewers’ hearts pounding?

Of course, it’s possible to do so much of either one that it works against the film. A movie can be so slow that when something finally does happen, the audience has stopped caring and lost interest long ago, like in many Ingmar Bergman pieces. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you go too fast then there’s the risk of skimming over important plot points or sequences that the audience wanted to see, such as the terribly received “Godzilla: Final Wars.”

Ultimately, the pace at which a film should move depends entirely upon the movie itself and how it wants to make the audience feel. One thing that it should always be is consistent. A movie should never move at a brisk pace yet slow down once it gets near the end, or vice versa. 

Such is the problem with “Enough Said,” a romantic-comedy starring the late James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as an aging couple who are both getting over their ex-spouses and their only children going off to college. It is revealed later on that Louis-Dreyfus’ character, who is a masseuse, has become friends with Gandolfini’s ex-wife (Catherine Keener) and has been unknowingly effecting how she looks at her boyfriend.

The problem with the pace of “Enough Said” is it drastically shifts once this reveal comes down on us. The first half of the movie is spent with Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini developing their relationship, cracking jokes at their own shortcomings and getting over their age problems. It feels like these two have become teenagers again when they’re around one another.

Once she learns that Gandolfini and Keener have been married before, the film suddenly slows down to a snails pace, indulging in many scenes that don’t add much to the story or ones that go no where. In fact, there is a large gap where James Gandolfini disappears from the film once the big reveal is made, as if his character has vanished from the plot.

Even the scenes that do add to the story seem to go on much longer than they should. There’s a scene where the couple have a double date with friends of theirs. As the night progresses and they become increasingly drunk, Louis-Dreyfus starts to insult Gandolfini for the smallest things, like having no night stands by his bed or that he can’t whisper. While this scene certainly has a point, it stops being comedic and instead becomes disrespectful and hard to watch.

If the filmmakers still want me to care about her character, then making her rude, stubborn and insulting is not the way to go.

Still, “Enough Said” does have elements that makes it enjoyable. As previously mentioned, the first half is simple yet captivating at getting the point across that these middle aged and flawed people are falling in love. Furthermore the film is very well handled at showing just how flawed these adults can be, such as when Louis-Dreyfus explains that she never regrets anything including her mistakes in life. These flaws lend credence to the fact they’re both divorced and their children are leaving them.

Overall though, I felt like not much was accomplished in “Enough Said.” Often relying on cliches and a predictable romantic-comedy formula, the film doesn’t feel much different from others of its genre. While the comedy is often good, it is the pacing that brings this movie down. A film should never be too fast or too slow, but one thing which always kills the piece is switching from one to the other halfway through.

Final Grade: C-

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