First and foremost, there’s the elephant in the room: This film represents the final work of the late actor James Gandolfini. It obviously has sentimental value; and while this film is not going to be winning any awards, it is—much like Gandolfini himself—a sweet, likeable, flawed movie.
Eva (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a divorced masseuse, looking for something to fill her soon-to-be empty nest. When she meets Albert (Gandolfini) at a party, she agrees to go on a date with him despite the fact that there is no instant attraction. As the two progress and get to know each other, a genuine attraction develops. Enter Marianne (Catherine Keener), a lonely client of Eva’s looking for a friend with whom to vent about her stressful divorce. The more Marianne talks, the more it becomes clear to Eva that Albert is her ex. And rather than come clean—the painfully obvious choice—she opts to continue to listen to Marianne’s vitriol. If you guessed it impacts her relationship with Albert, give yourself a gold star.
There is plenty to like about this film. The performances are wonderful, particularly Gandolfini, who leaves every bit of Tony Soprano behind. The problem is this: For what should be a charming film about romance after 50, Eva’s behavior—on all fronts—is so childish, it gives me pause as to whether people ever learn anything about relationships. In spite of that, Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini have some real moments of genuine chemistry that will almost make you forgive the plot—almost. It’s a 6.