Not Quite Enough
Profile: Jennifer Lopez vehicle about an abused woman who takes matters into her own fists, kicking the ass—and brain functions—of her husband/tormentor. Think Sleeping with the Enemymeets The Karate Kidmeets The Burning Bed meets Groin My Way—The Tawny Kitaen Story.Symptoms: Though Enough seems produced in a 20-year vacuum—abuse victims blamed for their abuse feels dated, as if the Lifetime channel never existed—it does do a good job of showing how a smart woman with a sweet Asia Minor rump can become trapped in an abusive relationship. There are a couple of scenes of violence, but mostly the film shows how abuse is about psychological intimidation and control. While the suspense building is a bit overdone—Creaky Wood Floor and Foreboding Bass Fiddle were surprisingly not given screen credits—what gets short changed is what the people paid to see: J.Lo kicking the evil bastard's ass. English filmmaker Michael Apted is so concerned making the case that it's okay to kill sometimes that he rushes through the film's revenge cycle, giving it all the depth of a TaeBo infomercial. Consequently, the film's main point seems to be that if you marry a rich, good-looking psycho with unlimited resources, all you have to do is tell your estranged billionaire father, and he'll send you lots of money and the name of a homicidal guru. That, and every girl would be better off with a nice Jewish boy. Well, duh. Diagnosis: Enough does a good job of making the case; it should put as much time and texture into the execution.
Prescription: I never say this, seeing as how it goes against all the good doctor's years of practice and training, but this movie should be made longer. Apted correctly makes a strong case for a deadly solution by showing the psychological toll of abuse. But he doesn't do the same when it comes to revenge. Vengeance may be the Lord's, but in Enough, it comes off only as a great way to get into shape. Whether Apted likes it or not, his main character is part of the cycle of violence that the film's base issue feeds from. So, instead of a five-minute workout montage, instead of just seeing Lopez readying her body, let's see what's going on in her mind. It's a hell of a thing to kill a man. If a woman is forced to sink to the level of her abuser, does she take on those attributes? Can one become selectively homicidal, even in self-defense? How does this affect her relationships with others? Empowered or embittered? My guess is that it's not just her body that's getting hard. A filmmaker as sophisticated as Apted, responsible for the groundbreaking 35 Up documentary, should resist the American predilection for easy answers in our movies, especially when it involves violent crime. Enough argues that sometimes violence can only be solved by violence. Fair enough. But don't just show us the preparation and result. Let us see the consequences.
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