Enough Movie Review

If you've seen the TV commercials, the theatrical trailer, or even the poster or print ads for the 100-percent unoriginal woman-in-peril thriller "Enough," then you've seen the whole movie. What kind of marketing campaign gives away the ending in the tag line?

"Self defense is not murder," Jennifer Lopez breathes with angry determination in the voice-over on the ads. Seeing as the movie is about a woman on the run from her abusive husband (Billy Campbell), that pretty much wraps it up, doesn't it?

Besides, haven't we seen this movie before? Say 10 years ago when it starred Julia Roberts and was called "Sleeping With the Enemy"? Or 15 years ago when it starred Farrah Fawcett and was called "The Burning Bed"?

The only significant upgrade here is that J.Lo has a five-minute training montage just before the end of the movie in which she learns self-defense and boxing techniques (and apparently attends locksmith and electrician school off-screen) so she can break into her psycho hubby's place and beat him down before he gets the chance to do the same to her.

The actual break-in and showdown plays like an estrogen-powered action movie and offers the only entertainment value in this otherwise trashy embarrassment of a motion picture, which is so absurdly scripted that Campbell's Mr. Perfect act doesn't raise a red flag for eight years until -- surprise! -- one day he admits to having affairs, then starts talking like a barbaric misogynist and smacking Lopez around.

Most of the movie consists of Lopez fleeing with her little girl (to whom nothing is ever explained) from city to city, one step ahead of her resourceful, revengeful spouse. He's rich enough to track her down wherever she goes and hire 300-lb. goons to rough up friends who shelter her.

From time to time, there's an impotent attempt to make your heart jump into your throat, but director Michael Apted invariably spends a good minute ramping up to those jumps so they invariably hit with a thud instead of a jolt. The first of these comes when Lopez decides to try to sneak out of the house at night while her husband is lightly sleeping, instead of waiting until the 18 hours of every day that he's not home. How can we be expected to sympathize with a woman this stupid?

A lot of talent goes to waste in this creatively comatose, bottom-scraping bomb. Lopez has enough emotional validity to drag the movie through its lack of common sense and carry off her character's transformation while still retaining a touch of the fear underneath it. Pity the girl can't pick a decent script.

Campbell, usually regulated to nice guy roles (see "The Rocketeer," ABC's "Once and Again"), is effectively menacing as her psycho husband. Ditto on all counts to Noah Wyle ("E.R.") as a crooked cop buddy who helps Campbell stalk his runaway wife. Juliette Lewis is wasted as well in a throwaway role as Lopez's best friend.

Even the director, who paints by numbers and has a hit-and-miss record, can be seen doing better work in some of the very same multiplexes showing "Enough." He directed a perfectly respectable, highly intelligent English World War II code-breaking drama called "Enigma," with Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott, which is opening this weekend in major cities.

Comments

Enough Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: PG-13, Opened: Friday, May 24, 2002

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