On the heels of Mark Ruffalo playing a sex addict trying to have an actual, person-to-person romance with Gwyneth Paltrow in “Thanks for Sharing,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a porn fiend who prefers late-night sessions with his laptop to the real thing, Scarlett Johansson.
Talk about your Me-First World Problems.
Already established as one of Hollywood’s most appealing young leading men, Gordon-Levitt delivers as the writer, director and star of this offbeat, frank and often surprising gem.
Beefed up with 12 pounds of muscle he put on for the role, often shirtless or wearing the sleeveless T-shirts that used to be known as “wife beaters” in less enlightened times, Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a Jersey bartender nicknamed “Don Jon” by his idiot buddies because he scores with a new conquest every week.
James Gandolfini’s first appearance in “Enough Said” will quite likely take you out of the story for just a bittersweet moment.
I know it did for me. Whether it was his signature role in “The Sopranos” or the terrific character work in films ranging from “True Romance” to “Zero Dark Thirty,” the bearish Gandolfini was always a welcome presence in just about anything he did, and you can’t help but reflect on his recent and sudden passing when you see him in one of his last film roles.
But here’s a lovely thing. After a career playing mobsters, hit men, heavies and military figures, Gandolfini plays that rarest of types in “Enough Said.” He’s a middle-aged man who falls in love with a middle-aged woman. And he delivers one of the richest performances of his career.
Gandolfini’s Albert and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Eva are both divorced, both with teenage daughters about to go off to college. They’re also smart, funny, world-weary — and pleasantly surprised to find themselves courting just when they’d reached the point where romance didn’t even seem to be an option.
n the individual sports, it’s nearly impossible to become a champion for the ages if you don’t have a fierce and lengthy rivalry with an opponent of near or equal skill and heart.
Jack Nicklaus needed Arnold Palmer. Muhammad Ali needed Joe Frazier. Nadal/Federer, Hagler/Hearns, Earnhardt/Waltrip, Duran/Leonard …
And in the 1970s on the Formula One racing circuit, it was Niki Lauda vs. James Hunt. They needed each other.
Even if you don’t know Formula One from the Soap Box Derby, Ron Howard’s “Rush,” like all great sports movies inspired by true events, is foremost about getting to know and understand the characters. By the time we get to the inevitable Big Game/Race/Match, the stakes are so high and the drama so real we find ourselves tensing up — even though we’re watching a re-creation of events long since in the record books.
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