Agh... not another movie where a battered, defenseless chick learns to kick bad guy butt. How many times have audiences endured this sluggish story in the past ten years? But hey, just because it's been done before doesn't mean it can't work again. Michael Apted's "self defense isn't murder" thriller may reek of familiarity like yesterday's garbage, but the intense chemistry between the leading actors actually makes the film work.
Working class waitress Slim (Lopez) finds herself living a dream when she marries a loving, wealthy contractor named Mitch (Campbell). They settle into a flawless suburban life and eventually give birth to an adorable daughter, Gracie. Everything seems to be perfect for Slim.
Then one day Slim decides to investigate her husband's cell phone. She discovers he has a mistress--maybe two, or three! She aggressively confronts him about this; in return, he furiously slaps her across the face. "What, I can't hit you?" he asks. She firmly replies, "No, you can't!" Wrong thing to say -- she ends up on the floor with a bloody face and a black eye.
His behavior grows more adulterous and violent. Not knowing who to turn to, Slim grabs Gracie (Tessa Allen), now five years old, and leaves Mitch. Unfortunately, Mitch wants her... at any cost. He hires dangerous handymen to track her down. Defenseless and broke, she scrambles from place to place, living in fear and humiliation, as her husband continues his search. But everyone has a limit, and it's not long before Slim decides to end her struggle with Mitch for good.
Many will foresee an inevitable conclusion from the trailer. For those who don't ignore the obvious, Enough will fall flat on its shameless face. Maybe that's what it really deserves, thanks to its thoughtless, mind-numbingly predictable story.
It's the performances that save the movie. Lopez reportedly trained in martial arts for three months with Simon Crane, who also trained Angelina Jolie for her role in Tomb Raider. Lopez plays the role with nerves of steel, giving her character much more empathy than Sally Field earned in 1995's similar Eye for an Eye. Campbell makes the perfect villain, more terrifying and tense than Mr. Voorhees ever though of being in Jason X. Mitch is arrogant, unpredictable, determined, and resourceful -- perfect for a memorable bad guy.
But Enough doesn't utilize Slim's old friend and romantic interest enough, nor does it develop Slim's real and adopted fathers. Noah Wyle's character becomes a mere plot device instead of evolving further. The movie also uses the tiresome old "kid" cliché. Gracie is, as always, just old enough to understand the situation, but not quite old enough to make an actual impact in the story. Although the film uses a child better than most movies like this would, she is still a cheap ploy to raise the stakes.
Enough's simple and direct conclusion is not as satisfying as we hope for, but it does work for what it is. By the final scenes, despite their obviousness, I was as engrossed in the movie as I could have been, actually rooting for J. Lo to kick some bad guy butt!
Vegas has J. Lo in 3.