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"Enough"

Directed by Michael Apted.
Written by Nicholas Kazan. 
Starring Jennifer Lopez and Billy Campbell.
Release Year:  2002 
Review Date:  5/28/02 

Folks-- 

Bad news, man.  To Brett Stone, who said to me, “Hey man, lemme know how bad ‘Enough’ is.”  I’m sorry...”Enough” didn’t suck.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t great.  But, didn’t you think this was going to be the worst movie of the year?  I sure did.  From the first time I saw the preview, and judging from J-Lo’s recent track record, I was positive this was going to suck.  Then tonight, I went to go see it...

...and, it was only average.  And, for the first time since the 1998 Samuel L. Jackson thriller “The Negotiator”, the trailer is scene-for-scene the plot of the movie.  So, Jennifer Lopez plays a woman that is the victim of a wife beater.  She and her kid make a run for it, only to be chased all over the country by this obsessed womanizer/rich guy/construction chief/cliché.  Then, she finally gets sick of it all, hires a trainer, gets in tip-top shape and proceeds to whoop his white ass because remember...”Self-defense isn’t murder.”  So, you guessed it, she kills him, and gets away with it.

The end.

But, for whatever reason, “Enough” does just enough to keep you entertained.  Billy Campbell plays the womanizer here and his so-evil-he-must-be-a-movie-bad-guy performance won’t warrant him ever working in film again, since his last significant film work was in the 1991 disaster “The Rocketeer.”  But, he is good at that character attribute known as “hammy”, and man, does he ham it up here!  This is mostly due to a tired script and J-Lo’s acting, which is better than usual but still not too good.  Again, average.

What picks up their roles are three different performances here.  First, the daughter (Tessa Allen).  She has an unbelievably annoying cuteness to her, but when she is in the back seat of J-Lo’s car during that car chase, she REALLY looks scared.  Usually, you can’t get kids to look that scared...all they do is scream real loud.  Nope, here it looks like Allen is actually in the back of the car at 90 MPH, and she looks frightened as all get out.  Second, Noah Wyle.  Noah WYLE!  I don’t watch Wyle’s “day job” work as one of those crazy doctors on “ER”, but he is really good here.  As one of the bad guys here in “Enough”, he has that smarmy look about him that plays well against his good looks.

But, the best performance is by veteran actor Bill Cobbs as a lawyer; you may remember his scene from the trailer, when J-Lo asks him what this crazy husband will do to her if she keeps coming home.  What is better about this cameo is the full scene in the movie.

J-Lo:  “What will he do to me?”
Cobbs:  “My guess?  He’ll keep comin’ after you...until he KILLS you.”
J-Lo:  “Oh.  Well, thanks.”

And then, she gets up and leaves!  SHE FUCKING LEAVES, gets back in her car, and figures out another way to stop the guy.  As if the lawyer had said “My guess?  They put ketchup and mustard on all the patties because Mr. Kroc liked both” and then J-Lo was like “Oh, really?  Shit, I like both of ‘em too...thanks!”  I was laughing out loud during this scene, because Cobbs delivers the line with such matter-of-factness.  Genius.

The last fifteen minutes—where J-Lo predictably kills said husband—is pretty entertaining, mostly because you get to watch the guy get his deserved comeuppance by watching Lopez break out some kicks and cat-like maneuvers that she didn’t learn until very recently in the movie’s timeline.  And, I couldn’t help but think, mid-film, of how many people that watch this film are themselves victims of domestic abuse...and, how many of them will see this film and call the cops right away to have their violent husband arrested.  If just one of them did that, then I would be a fool to be so shortsighted that this is just another bad J-Lo flick.  You know?

Not bad enough to be bad but not good enough to be good, films don’t come along that are more average than “Enough.”  As a film with some real-world redeeming qualities, though, this will really hit home for some moviegoers.

Rating:  Matinee

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09