Archives for posts with tag: Catherine Keener

The best thing about “The 40 Year Old Virgin” (2005) is it has that new-movie smell. You know what I mean. The concept is funny and all, but this was right at the beginning of the whole Judd Apatow Bromantic Comedy Era. It was Steve Carell’s first starring role. We hadn’t gotten tired of co-star Seth Rogen saying “fuck!” and doing bong hits every five seconds. The supporting cast is amazingly deep (Paul Rudd, Catherine Keener, Jane Lynch, Kat Dennings, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, etc.). And the dialogue is as sharp as a rock band on its first hit album.

A movie about a guy writing a movie about a book. About orchids. Seriously? Yet “Adaptation” (2002) works. It doesn’t hurt that there’s a Maggie Gyllenhaal sighting. And a Catherine Keener sighting. Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper as stars don’t hurt, either. But mainly it’s the intricately interwoven plot that’s part book, part writing a movie about the book, and part crazy, made-up shit. I’m loathe to make the comparison, but it’s like an orchid. Delicate, high maintenance, occasionally satisfying. (I love gardening and houseplants. I’ve had a couple orchids. What pains in the ass. But… oh, hello, Nicholas Cage.)

“Enough Said” (2013) is a fascinating little movie. It starts out a smartly written romantic comedy that isn’t chatty despite tons of dialogue. It suddenly turns into an episode of “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and gets a little painful to watch (not always for the right reasons) before a satisfying ending. It was so nice to see James Gandolfini play a character that doesn’t have to whack anyone. I’ve always had a crush on Julia Louis-Dreyfus. On TV, she can be kinda schticky. But on the big screen, her nonstop facial expressions are a treat, not a distraction.