The face is the same, but it’s impossible to look at James Gandolfini’s tender, vulnerable middle-aged schlub in this smart romantic comedy and see any semblance of Tony Soprano. This last major role from the actor, who died in June, is a bittersweet reminder of his incredible range.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars in Enough Said as a massage therapist who starts a hesitant romance with Gandolfini, but fears he’s an even bigger loser than she is. Both are divorced, both are lonely, but neither is sure about the other. Then Louis-Dreyfus discovers that one of her massage clients (Catherine Keener) is his ex-wife, and she engages in an ill-planned effort to get inside information about the habits of her new boyfriend.
This is one of writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s (Friends With Money) warmest, funniest comedies, and her two stars should each get awards consideration this year. Their best shot, of course, is at ceremonies that have special categories for musical/comedy, like the Golden Globes.
But here’s a depressing report: one member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the Globes, told me that the group liked the movie, particularly Gandolfini’s performance.
“Does he have a shot at comedy/musical actor? Or maybe supporting actor?” I asked.
The HFPA member shrugged. “Well … he can’t come to the show.”
Just a little reminder that rewarding great performances often comes second to studding the Globes’ TV broadcast with stars.