Directed by Michael Apted
Enough is the most shamelessly manipulative revenge movie Hollywood has concocted in years. Like all junk food, it seems tasty at first, but the calories are empty.
I Married A Frat House Psycho
Enough tells the tale of Slim (Jennifer Lopez, Selena), a cocky waitress in a diner who stumbles on the man of her dreams, Mitch (Billy Campbell, The Rocketeer), when he alerts her to a scam involving a playboy named Robbie (Noah Wyle, Donnie Darko). Robbie had a bet with a guy regarding his ability to get into Slim's pants.
Thankful for Mitch's intervention, Slim marries the guy in the next scene.
Mitch's obnoxious personality is immediately put on display when he confronts the owner of a house that caught the eyes of the newlyweds. Mitch offers him a generous sum for the house, even though it's not for sale. Making the offer all the more attractive, he rationalizes for the homeowner that by selling, he'll avoid Mitch's harassment. Nice guy.
With the house bought, the film quickly cuts to the birth of their daughter, Gracie. Mitch seems to be the doting father, quick to put work on hold and embrace his daughter. Cut to six years later and problems start to creep into Slim's slice of heaven.
Rejected by Mitch when she wants to join him for a shower, Slim then intercepts a page from Mitch's mistress.
When confronted with the matter, Mitch turns extremely violent. He explains things in no uncertain terms: he makes the money and he sets the rules. Slim needs to take the good with the bad, and it doesn't matter how many women sleep with Mitch. After all, men have different needs than women when it comes to bedroom activity.
It's all the kind of sensationally trashy drama one might expect in a Cosmopolitan column or any of the daily soaps. The rest of the movie is spent with Slim on the run before she regroups and seeks the vengeance of a woman scorned.
Nicholas Kazan's screenplay is full of senseless dialogue and random acts of thoughtlessness.
When Slim's friends tell her to call the police, Slim defiantly says she will not let the father of her daughter go to jail.
After a particularly brutal beating, her friends want to take her to the hospital. No way. Slim's bruised ribs be damned, she needs to take her daughter someplace where she can sleep in peace. (Totally ignoring the fact that Gracie was sawing logs on the sofa just feet away from the scene of Slim's beating, a sleep so solid Gracie didn't even twitch when Mitch fired his gun.)
The bottom line is Mitch is a spoiled brat who thinks he's God's gift to womankind, and as such, he can play god with their lives. He chillingly tells Slim, "I am and always will be a person who gets what he wants." That includes the right to beat his wife (and even slap his daughter) without any repercussions.
There's a lot of silly drivel to be had in Enough. It's laughable when, while in a heated car chase, Slim's pursuer rolls down the window of his SUV and tells Slim to "Pull over."
Even a lawyer tells Slim she's screwed and refuses to help her. He thinks her custody hearing is merely a ploy for her husband to set the stage for her cold-blooded murder. The entire screenplay is similarly coldly calculated and nonsensical.
Realizing she has no other options (at least not in Hollywood's limited storytelling ability), Slim takes a 30-day crash course in martial arts. In the process, she achieves Zen-like mastery of her surroundings, becomes a surveillance equipment expert, gets a manicure, and makes a mousetrap out of Mitch's new pad (a coldhearted structure of concrete slabs in desperate need of a woman's touch, beyond that of one-night stands).
Slim To None
Director Michael Apted currently has another film, Enigma, making its way through the art house circuit. That film is subtle and finds a sense of mystery and suspense in its World War II setting. Enough is as subtle as a Looney Toon.
One of the many sources of irritation is the film's failure to divulge Slim's real name at any point. "Slim" is the nickname she wears on her badge at the diner. Yet at no point does her husband or any of her friends or even her deadbeat father (a not-so-gracefully aging Fred Ward, The Right Stuff) call her by her real name. It's a small point, but a simple acknowledgement of her real name would have been a tiny way to help make Slim seem more like a human than a cartoon character. In this simple story simply told, Slim and Mitch are two broadly drawn caricatures. Mitch is a bad man and it is the film's sole intent to paint him as such in order to give the crowd reason to cheer when Slim opens up a six-pack of whoop ass. Slim is a cocky waitress who turns to demure mother then vengeful hitwoman in stages that are simply unbelievable.
But, Enough does get a couple things right. For a two-hour flick, it's fast-paced and keeps things moving. Also, Gracie (Tessa Allen) actually manages to change from an annoyingly whiny, cheery little kid into a girl who's seen too much in her short life. That transition is more realistic than anything else in the film. But that little bit of grounding isn't enough.
• Originally published at MovieHabit.com.