Film Reviews: Wednesday May 23, 2002
Hitting Back

Audiences for this insulting Jennifer Lopez thriller should say Enough is enough.


woefully inept exercise in male-bashing, Enough is hysterical, in more ways than one. It stars Jennifer Lopez as a waitress who calls herself Slim. Sheís swept off her feet by this drop-dead-cute customer named Mitch (Billy Campbell), who marries her and fathers their little girl, Gracie (Tessa Allen). Life is a dream until Slim discovers Mitchís hitherto unsuspected serial infidelity. When she threatens to leave, Mitch almost immediately becomes an obsessive, psychotic, violent stalker who pursues Slim across the country, as she takes Gracie along and repeatedly disguises herself and forges new identities in an attempt to lose him.

Okay, letís be literal for a second. Guys like this donít change overnight unless thereís a brain trauma or mental disease involved. The movie doesnít have an explanation up its sleeve, although it could have invented one if it had been a horror or science fiction film. Come to think of it, the filmmakers wouldíve been better off recasting the story that way, because then they could have explained all the other psychology-defying holes in the plot. As it is, the movie insults our intelligence by giving the husband so many resources and well-connected friends that his ability to cut off Slimís avenues of escape borders on magical.

Thatís just the buildup, though. The center of this movie, really the whole reason why it was made, is the supposedly rousing sequence where Slim hits the gym and makes herself over from a shrinking violet into a commando-style fighting machine, ready to take down the abusive husband once and for all. Itís clearly meant to bolster Lopezís diva image, and itís a troublesome sign that the star is starting to believe her own press. The reason we find her interesting is her hard work for strong-willed directors like Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight) and Tarsem Singh (The Cell). She needs to get back to that and find better material.

Speaking of material, letís talk about director Michael Apted. How such a great documentarian (the Seven Up series) can be such a Hollywood hack at the same time is an enduring mystery. Itís understandable for a filmmaker to take an occasional paycheck job to finance his labor of love, but this is ridiculous. From the sleep-inducing The World Is Not Enough to the haranguing Extreme Measures to the sickly sweet Nell, Aptedís Hollywood features have been completely devoid of artistic merit, and this movieís more than fit to join their ranks.

The supporting actors give their roles better than they deserve. Having played a sensitive, caring dad on tvís Once and Again, Campbell picks a role on the other extreme, and even though heís too mild for it, itís a smart career move. A convincingly sleazy Noah Wyle shows up at the filmís beginning and then pops up later in a highly predictable ďsurpriseĒ plot twist. As Slimís best friend, a scene-stealing Juliette Lewis is sly, sexy, and above all focused ó where the hell did this performance come from?

They donít come close to saving this thing, though. Enough may work as a revenge fantasy for people who have been in abusive relationships, but most moviegoers are bound to come out of it feeling battered, cinematically.

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