Mark Reviews Movies


1 ½ Stars (out of 4)

Director: Michael Apted

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Bill Campbell, Tessa Allen, Juliette Lewis, Dan Futterman, Fred Ward, Noah Wyle

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense scenes of domestic violence, some sensuality and language)

Running Time: 1:55

Release Date: 5/24/02

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Review by Mark Dujsik

Of all the possible ways to handle an issue of such severity and importance as domestic abuse, why lump and simplify it into such a tired formula and overwrought genre as this? Enough has the disguise of an important statement against domestic violence and for the empowerment of women (not necessarily controversial causes), but takes those themes and places them into a contrived and completely ineffective thriller, essentially wrecking any kind of message it has to say in the first place. This movie has been made many times before in much better ways with more satisfying results. The movie presents everything in terms of black and white; there’s no middle ground—no room for subtlety. Characters are forced to choose between one option or another, even though in reality there’s always at least a third scenario. This is a movie fantasy world, though, and there things are as simple as this or that, no matter how unfair it is to the issue at hand.

A diner waitress named Slim (Jennifer Lopez) is saved from humiliation when a man named Mitch (Bill Campbell) tells her that the man hitting on her has made a bet with a friend on whether or not he can get her into bed. Her best friend and co-worker Ginny (Juliette Lewis) convinces her not to let this one go. Flash-forward to an undisclosed amount of time where the two have just gotten married. Mitch wants to be a father. Flash-forward again to the birth of their daughter. Mitch holds the baby lovingly and seems not to want to give her to Slim. Flash-forward for the last time to Slim, Mitch and their now five-year-old daughter Gracie (Tessa Allen) sitting on the beach, Mitch looking slightly jealous of his daughter’s attention to her mother. Soon, Slim discovers that Mitch has been cheating on her, and when she confronts him about it, he hits her twice and warns of what’s to come if she defies him again.

Mitch is not your typical (read: realistic) abusive husband. The man is the creation of a thriller. The first sign of this is when a group of Slim’s friends try to take her away and he comes out with gun (for some reason equipped with silencer) drawn. He sends out thugs disguised as FBI agents to anywhere Slim happens to be—even if there isn’t a trail left by her. At times he is not even human but a horror movie monster, complete with low, dramatic score accompanying his presence. The switch from romantic husband of six or so years to omnipresent creature from hell comes suddenly, without warning. But that’s the kind of villain a movie with as little depth as this one calls for. His digression to complete evil is a tool of screenplay to set the always-noticeable gears of the thriller going.

Some of the other more absurd, useless, and amusing tricks of the screenplay include the revelation that the man at the beginning of the movie is in cahoots with Mitch. Played by Noah Wyle, his presence at the beginning seems to be a simple joke, since Wyle doesn’t seem the scumbag type. Later, though, there’s an entire sequence that leads him searching for her, but screenwriter Nicholas Kazan (son of director Elia Kazan) doesn’t realize that this twist does nothing to further the plot or add any layer of depth to the conflict. Another fun gimmick is the way in which Gracie’s presence is used in an attempt to heighten the tension in key chase and beating scenes. The movie has no qualms displaying just how manipulative and exploitative it is. There are plenty more details—large and small—that reveal the script devices, but the final showdown and the immediate events leading up to it are noteworthy. First of all, the movie obviously ends with a big fight. Slim gets some fight training, and we’re shown every move that she will eventually make during the confrontation. The fight that results is admittedly a deviously entertaining one, but just don’t get me started on the home security system that conveniently stops working when the heroine needs to break into her husband’s house.

The movie contains a strong, effective performance from Jennifer Lopez, who’s easy enough to sympathize with even when she makes many key mistakes in handling her situation, but Enough is too bogged down in ineptly crafted formula to work. The movie has a desire to be both a trifling entertainment and a social statement, but in limiting itself to the lowest possibilities of both, it’s a failure.

Copyright © 2002 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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