Our review of Enough: Special Edition, published September 16th, 2003, is also available.
Everyone has a limit.
After waking from sleeping with the enemy (AKA "the girlfriend"), I tuned in and caught the double Jeopardy round, answered every question on movies, and realized that I had had enough! There's been far too much regurgitation in Hollywood. How many times are we going to rehash the same subject over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again? Theaters are replete with examples of the absolute inanity of the buffoons in Hollywood who are purported to be intelligent enough to know what is entertainment. Really? Is it really true that if it worked once, it'll work at least a few more times?
Enough is truly enough, as this is at least the third major motion picture to take the same idea, toss it in a blender, come up with a pleasant frappe, and serve it to us as if it's a brand new concoction. We all know we saw this plot back in 1991 when it was called Sleeping with the Enemy; then we got a warm fuzzy when a variation on the theme called Double Jeopardy graced us with its presence back in 1999, and, this year, it's J-Lo's turn to get all pissed off at her man and teach him that you don't mess with the hot tamale! Uh huh, girlfriend! This girl ain't gonna stand for no home slice slapping her around! She's gonna stand up and say, enough!
Facts of the Case
Slim (Jennifer Lopez, The Cell, Out Of Sight, songstress magnifique!) is a waitress who isn't looking for love, especially from any of the people who frequent her restaurant. However, one day she is almost convinced by her best friend, fellow waitress Ginny (Juliette Lewis, The Way Of The Gun, From Dusk Till Dawn) to give the latest flirtatious customer, Robbie (Noah Wyle, E.R., Donnie Darko), a chance. Robbie is very handsome and is saying all the right things. Slim is about to agree to a date until another customer in an adjacent booth makes a startling accusation: that Robbie is hitting on Slim simply to win a bet with his friends. Robbie is kicked out of the restaurant post haste and Slim and Mitch (Bill Campbell, Now and Again, The Rocketeer) soon hook up. Their date goes off extremely well and, in short order, they're married, have a girl, and move into the perfect house.
One day, Slim and Ginny are just having a simple chat; it's one of those meandering talks that covers a wide range of topics: Ginny's recent trip down to Mexico, Slim's odd fear of getting locked in a trunk, Ginny's uncanny knowledge of serial killers, and Slim's favorite movies—Dogma, Phantoms, The Sum Of All Fears, Good Will Hunting, Pearl Harbor. After hearing about Ginny's unbelievable adventure in Mexico, Slim decides she needs a little more fun in her life, so she coaxes Mitch to go out for a little boat trip. During a terrible storm, Slim falls over the side and is lost at sea. Mitch is beside himself with desperation to find his wife. He wants to find her so badly that he uses the secret jetpack to fly all up and down the west coast to find his lost love; alas, it's to no avail. Now he believes he'll never be able to lovingly slap her around anymore.
It turns out that Slim had fallen into a well and is safe; she needed an opportunity to escape from her husband and his fanatical obsession with the bathroom towels. In the interim, Mitch has developed a sneaking suspicion that perhaps Slim simply ran away, and so he uses his wealth to hire some men to investigate the situation. The first stop is the local hospital where we find Robbie in the midst of a crisis situation; he's under enormous stress but finds a few minutes to talk with his old buddy Mitch. Mitch blackmails Robbie into joining the hunt for Slim, whom he now fully believes is still alive and in hiding.
Slim is indeed hiding from her abusive husband. Her first stop is to visit her estranged father, who's hunting worms out in the desert. Luckily he's made a few bucks off this odd endeavor and reluctantly gives Slim a little cash to get along. Using this money, Slim moves far away from the torments of Mitch and begins to make some new friends. One of her new friends is an expert in jailhouse law and explains to Slim that, because it's her divine right to protect the lives of herself and her offspring, if she had previously been erroneously charged with killing her husband, then she could really whack him and get away with it. With this nugget of insight, Slim decides to buff up and give her old man a return butt whoopin'. Unfortunately, Tommy Lee Jones tracks her down before she can set her plan into motion. Fortunately, Slim is smarter and younger than he and escapes in a brilliant two-fold escape. First, she crashes into Travis' purely terrestrial SUV so he can't follow her; then, secondly, when he does catch up to her, she crashes yet another vehicle off a ferry.
Slim is young, smart, and thoroughly determined—for a waitress—and eludes the extensive manhunt for her. All the while, she's training to confront Mitch and put an end to this desperate situation. After a pleasant moment of relaxation in her bathtub, the final confrontation begins!
So, in summary: girl meets boy, they fall in love, they get married, they have a beautiful daughter, they live in a wonderful house, and they're happy. Then she realizes he's an evildoer. She tries to leave, but he kicks the crap out of her and won't let her go. Eventually she runs away, yet he tracks her down. With no alternative, she learns to fight and confronts him for the final smackdown.
There's no reason for this movie. It's a complete amalgamation of clichéd material that has already reared its ugly head in plenty of previous movies. Truly, Enough doesn't have a fresh idea anywhere to be found in it; it borrowed one part Sleeping with the Enemy, one part Double Jeopardy, and even one part Dolores Claiborne, interspersed the various plot points and out came this latest rehash. Consider this possible pitch meeting:
"Hey, we have J-Lo under contract and she's getting pretty popular now.
I think we need to capitalize on that."
As evidenced by yet another brilliant and subtle Hollywood trailer, the whole point of this movie is for J-Lo to buff up and kick ass. At its heart, and speaking as a man, there is some potential fun in that (though not enough to have motivated to see this in the theater). Unfortunately, everyone seemed to forget the one possible reason to tune into this movie, because it takes nearly an hour and a half to get to that scene. From the first scene, you know where this movie is going to end up. I know I looked at my watch several times wondering how much longer before we got to the payoff. Fatal mistake! So, once we have patiently survived the movie to get to the final fight, it turns out to be a brilliant letdown; alas, no big surprise on that one. Ignoring the sheer preposterousness of the character getting prepared in such a short amount of time, the final confrontation is weak, far-fetched, and ludicrous. The only moment of plausibility is the initial instance when Mitch gets his one and only solid hit on Slim. Even that slice of reality doesn't work because you don't want to see her get hit, you want her to beat the crap out of him from the get-go.
But let's not stop there, because there is just so much more to rip apart in this fine offering. Let's take a moment to discuss J-Lo's character name of "Slim." What kind of name is that supposed to be? A cute nickname? A derivation of her full name? Who knows? For the entire movie, she is called Slim, and it is truly the dumbest screen name I've ever heard (including Count Dooku). At least take a second to explain why she's given this idiotic moniker.
Now let's ask why Slim never calls the police? I'll grant them half-credit in that they take a scene to try and promote a possible explanation for her not reporting the crime, but if she's going to run away, then that erases your argument for not reporting the abuse in the first place. Thus, you run and report and cover your bases.
As the beginning of the movie covers "a lot" of movie time in a short amount of real time, it was felt that it would be of use to the audience to utilize cue cards: they meet, they fall in love, they live happily ever after, life sucks, she runs, et cetera. Those aren't the real placards, by the way, but that's the gist of what they say. Obviously, the movie is so complex that we couldn't figure out what was going on. We've never seen such a dramatic and complex plot before, so we needed some assistance to know what was going on. Thank you, Michael Apted (director, Enigma, The World Is Not Enough), or whomever for overestimating the complexity or your film and doubting the intelligence of the mere automatons that frequent the multiplexes and inserting those lovely placards into your film.
Foreshadowing can be an excellent tool when used delicately and subtly. That isn't the case here. It would have been just as easy for them to put up another placard saying "Here's the scene where we specifically explain why she's doing this because such-and-such is going to happen later on." Then when such-and-such happens ten minutes later, the next placard could read "Here's the scene that we told you about ten minutes ago." Being discreet and clever is certainly something that no one on this crew heard of, for I can't recall so many instances of blatant and aggressive over-foreshadowing in one movie. Sometimes you don't have to be so obvious.
Now it's time for me to stop being negative and say something nice about the movie: I didn't fall asleep.
Really, there isn't much to say about this film that can offset the sheer numbing nature of the reiteration called Enough. Certainly, the acting is adequate, with the cast turning in a satisfactory if yet slightly unconvincing performances—Bill Campbell doesn't have the maniacal gleam in his eye, Noah Wyle has an air of wimp about him, Juliette Lewis is lacking her usual charm, and J-Lo just hasn't regained her spark from Out of Sight. The direction by Apted too is simply adequate with no risks or innovative style coming to light (which makes me realize how dull his Bond flick would have been without the explosions and tight, wet T-shirts). Neither the cinematography nor costume designs nor score will make any impression on you.
Put all that together and what do you have? A movie that be skipped.
Columbia TriStar didn't do much with this deflated soufflé in porting it over to our favorite medium. For the video transfer, upon startup, you can choose either a widescreen anamorphic or bastardized full screen presentation. Not knowing or caring what the full screen has to offer, the widescreen transfer is actually quite satisfying. In watching this fine film, I didn't notice any significant transfer errors: no pixelization, artifacting, or obtrusive edge enhancement. About the only major problem is just a touch too much light grain. Otherwise, colors are rich and accurate with very nice black definition, and there's solid contrast and sharpness to bring out some nice details. The audio is a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix (unless you prefer the 2.0 Dolby French option) that does exactly what is needed for a dialogue intensive film. There is no distortion, hiss, or clipping from any channel, with dialogue being clean from the center. The rears and subwoofer are mostly ignored, which is expected, but do perk up during an occasional scene. As for bonus material, it's decidedly missing. All you get is the theatrical trailer (on two menus because it's just that darn good), a small filmography section, and J-Lo's music video "Alive." As always, why aren't music-related bonus features in 5.1? It's DVD; utilize the format to its fullest!
The Rebuttal Witnesses
J-Lo's got a really fine butt, and I could watch repeat viewings of it! Too bad she didn't wear more spandex so we could see it all. (Hey, this is the re-butt-al section, right?)
I believe I've made it abundantly clear that this is a pointless retelling of an old story. There is absolutely nothing new, exciting, or inventive in this offering to necessitate you to rent or buy this film. Plot lines from earlier movies were stolen, slightly reworked, and assembled in an effort to fool you into wanting to spend your money on this lifeless film. Just flip around the cable channels and sooner or later you're bound to come across one of the other movies already made with the same theme. Save your money for the multitude of better movies and discs out there.
Guilty! All parties are hereby sentenced to twelve months remedial study at the Jennifer Julia Judd School of Professional Writing.
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