Nicole Holofcener is no stranger to world of film and television. Her father-in-law is Charles H. Joffe (one of Woody Allen's go-to producers) and she was taught at Columbia by Martin Scorsese. Most of the shows and movies she's written or directed have received some sort of acclaim (from the 1996 cult classic Walking and Talking to her directing involvement on Sex and the City). Her latest film, Enough Said, however, proves to be something of an anomaly in Holofcener's canon. Of course, there is a certain amount of sentimentality surrounding it due to the fact that it was James Gandolfini's penultimate film. Thus, there are moments when it seems almost difficult to gauge if the movie is notable for its content or for the realization that it's Gandolfini's last hurrah.
Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a mobile masseuse/divorcée struggling with the notion that her daughter, Ellen (Tracey Fairaway) will be leaving for Sarah Lawrence in the coming months. To make matters less palatable, her massage clients all seem to embody some sort of bad L.A. stereotype: An gross older man practically orgasms every time Eva touches him, a trophy wife talks endlessly about her petty problems and a selfish young actor type watches Eva suffer every time she walks up his endless staircase. Her best friend, Sarah (Toni Collette), is a successful psychiatrist suffering through her own relationship issues with her husband, Will (Ben Falcone). The couple takes Eva to a party peppered with influential guests, including a poet named Marianne (Holofcener favorite Catherine Keener). Eva and Marianne hit it off somewhat awkwardly after Eva makes the usual trite "poet/know it" rhyme, after which she encounters--unbeknownst to her--Marianne's ex-husband, Albert (Gandolfini).
Although Eva and Albert both claim to not be attracted to one another, Eva can't resist when Sarah tells her that Albert asked Will for her number. Seeking the advice of her disinterested daughter and Chloe (Tavi Gevinson, who can't stop, won't stop), her daughter's best friend, the two seem encouraged by Eva's positive reaction to her first date with Albert. One would imagine that since it's hard enough to hit it off with someone at a young age, it must be even more challenging for someone older who has been burned by love and become more set in his or her ways. This undeniable connection she feels with Albert is marred when she learns that he is Marianne's ex-husband--the same ex-husband she's been talking all kinds of shit about before, during and after their massages together.
At first horrified by the revelation, it suddenly dawns on Eva that she can use the intelligence gained from Marianne to her advantage. Referring to Marianne as a "Trip Advisor" for the metaphorical hotel that is Albert, Eva begins encouraging Marianne to speak more freely about him. Marianne obliges, addressing everything from his lack of "night tables" to his disgusting habit of picking out onions from guacamole using his chip. While, initially, Eva just wants to know if there's anything truly wrong with Albert, she suddenly recognizes that she's incapable of being objective about him anymore. To make matters worse, Eva's clingy rapport with Chloe has only served to further alienate Ellen from her, who is already feeling an emotional distance in preparation for her departure to Sarah Lawrence.
Indeed, it is the relationship between Chloe and Eva that proves to be one of the most interesting in Enough Said, especially when one considers the utter lack of motherly figures in Los Angeles, and thus, Chloe's intense need to be amid someone as "traditional" as Eva. Albert, who has an overly sophisticated, precocious daughter of his own, Tess (Eve Hewson, of This Must Be The Place fame), identifies with Eva's plight in watching her daughter pull away both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, in spite of his empathy and sweetness, her neurotic behavior toward Albert starts to manifest in the form of critiquing him in the same manner his ex-wife would have. And ultimately, her secret is found out.
The beauty of Enough Said is that the conclusion is neither entirely positive or negative. The entire film's point is to illustrate that you have to accept someone as they are--to try to change them inevitably means that they're not the right person for you. Hence, Holofcener's metaphor when she ensures to insert a line about how Albert still hasn't got any new night tables. Because he's still the same person, flaws and all, which is just who Eva wants him to be.