ENOUGH (director: Michael Apted; screenwriter: Nicholas Kazan; cinematographer: Rogier Stoffers; editor: Rick Shaine; music: David Arnold; cast: Jennifer (Slim Hiller), Billy Campbell (Mitch Hiller), Tessa Allen (Gracie Hiller), Juliette Lewis (Ginny), Dan Futterman (Joe), Fred Ward (Jupiter), Bill Cobbs (Jim Toller), Noah Wyle (Robbie); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Rob Cowan/Irwin Winkler; Sony; 2002)
“Believability wasn’t one of the film’s virtues.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Veteran English filmmaker Michael Apted (“The World is not Enough”/56 Up”) directs with guile this often filmed theme of an abused wife in peril. The director pushes all the buttons to make this a crowd pleaser. In this cliché-ridden melodrama the hubby doesn’t stop at abuse, but is out to kill his wife. The twist is that the wife gets revenge by learning Krav Maga martial arts techniques (Krav Maga is the Israeli army’s martial art, which is taught to female soldiers).
The film’s best asset was J. Lo looking vulnerable, likable, sweet, and eventually capable of handling her problem. The baddie was played by Billy Campbell without merit. Screenwriter Kazan dug up nothing pertinent or fresh in this umpteenth ‘woman on the run’ from dangerous hubby flick.
Slim (Lopez) and her friend Ginny (Lewis) are waitresses in a greasy spoon diner. When a handsome guy (Wyle) tries to date her, an even handsomer customer conveniently in the next booth, Mitch (Campbell), warns her that he overheard the cad make a bet with his pal that he could score her. Mitch, who is the wealthy owner of a construction company, appears as her “Prince Charming,” and they soon get married. At the wedding, the ideal man Mitch tells his bride “You’re safe with me.” They soon have a cute daughter Gracie, to whom Slim devotes her life to.
When Slim accidentally answers her hubby’s pager (everyone in this flick seems to have a cell phone), Slim discovers he’s cheating with another woman. Confronting him results in getting beat up and receiving a lecture that he has a right to have affairs because he’s the breadwinner. Mitch also warns her to accept this or she’ll be sorry. Trying to tell this to his mother goes for nada. The police can’t help they can only give her a restraining order, which Slim comments is only a piece of paper. So with the help of her diner friends and her surrogate father Phil, Slim tries to escape in the middle of the night while the nice guy turned monster is asleep. But Mitch awakens and gives her a savage beating. Her friends manage at a risk to their lives to get her out of the house with Gracie.
Slim flees to her former nice guy boyfriend Joe (Futterman) in Seattle, but Mitch traces every move she makes through his rogue cop friend Robbie. Mitch stalks her, freezes her credit cards, and seems to be omnipresent. After a trio of thugs hired by Mitch show up looking for her at Joe’s, Slim quickly gets a fake passport, a new name, a new haircut, and goes to L.A., San Francisco, and to different parts of Southern California to hide from her evil hubby.
Since Mitch seems to be winning every battle and might even get custody of her precious daughter, Slim visits her long-lost real womanizer father Jupiter (Ward) and eventually gets enough money from him when he becomes certain that she’s really his daughter. Slim uses the dough to take a crash course in a few weeks to become a martial arts expert, someone who is now equivalent to a black-belt. Believability wasn’t one of the film’s virtues. It seems according to these filmmakers, that killing Mitch is the only way out of her dilemma. By drawing Mitch into a fight, Slim can kill him because — “self defense is not murder.”
The film proves to be an exploitative one, that could care less about the plight of abusive women. What it was really after was getting some good action scenes of a hot woman star with a sexy bod fighting with a despicable hunky man bully. It gave the viewer some cheap thrills to see the tormentor get his ass kicked.
REVIEWED ON 5/31/2002 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ