Enough (review)

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Lawlessness and Disorder

J Lo: Waitress. Housewife. Battered Woman. Ninja.

Reality has little to do with Enough. Enough is about watching Jennifer Lopez kick the living shit out of Billy Campbell. Why? Because that’s what gets preview audiences on their feet, cheering. Why it’s acceptable to cheer while a woman beats the holy crap out of a man, but not the other way around, is one question the thinking moviegoer might ask, and yet it’s far from the only outstanding question. One might also wonder whether this isn’t the movie most calculated to enrage an audience ever made, and that’s saying something in a year that has also produced John Q.
Billy Campbell was once the Rocketeer. It makes me very sad that he is now the poster boy for Right Rotten Bastards. Not that you can take him seriously. His absurdly fairy-tale relationship with J Lo — whose character’s actual given name is apparently “Slim” — turns Brothers Grimm at a laughable drop of a hat: He sweeps this burger-joint waitress off her feet, marries her in a lavish ceremony, buys her dream house, and lies, cheats, and turns violent without warning or provocation. Suddenly, his Mitch is making Snidely Whiplash look Shakespearean, and now it’s If I Can’t Have You, No One Can: The Movie. Lopez (The Wedding Planner, The Cell) cries a lot and confronts every cliché of the battered-wife movie — “What did you say to him?” Mitch’s mom asks her gently, comforting and accusing in the same moment — and is told what to feel and do by onscreen placards that emphasize the already too, too obvious: “more than enough,” “get out.”

She needs to be told these things, however, because even as she “carefully” plans an escape for herself and the inevitable kid, she forgets things like taking some cash out of the bank or getting a credit card in her own name. Gawd’s sake, she knows she’s married to an omnipotent and omniscient Man (all men are beasts, her friend Juliette Lewis had previously informed her) — surely, she could have foreseen his total control over the banking system, which would enable him to cut off all her funds. Then again, though he can listen in on her phone calls in anonymous motel rooms and can track the credit-card usage of her friends, he is thwarted when she hops on a city bus whose destination is announced in glowing letters across its face. Even all-powerful Evil can’t understand a bus map, I guess.

There’s a recurrent thing about not letting the kid, Gracie (the cute Tessa Allen), in on the joke that her d-a-d is a b-a-s-t-a-r-d. Hopefully, she’ll never realize how s-t-u-p-i-d her m-o-v-i-e is, either.

“You have the divine animal right to protect your life and your offspring,” according to Juliette Lewis, Esq., and while I’m sure that any legal advice coming from such quarters would be suspect, without it we’d never get to the ass-kicking. (Which comes in the last five minutes of the film, by the way — I like how the advertising for Enough uses its ending as the entire selling point of the flick, but I guess there’s never really been any doubt or suspense whatsoever that a tough broad like J Lo could take down a man a full foot taller and a full hundred pounds heavier than she is.) As the film reached its crescendo of absurdity, I amused myself by imagining Sam Waterston’s Jack McCoy dissecting the legality of J Lo’s self-defense claim: “If you draw your victim into a situation in which he is forced to attack you, and you kill him in response, it isn’t self-defense, Adam! It’s conspiracy to commit murder!” And Adam would sigh heavily and tell Jack that he’d never win at trial, not once the sympathetic mother and battered wife takes the stand.

Jack, the crazy, moralistic bastard, would prosecute anyway, and lose. Because, as one of Slim’s friends reminds her and us, she’s a “great person,” just in case there was any doubt that she is entitled to plan and carry out her husband’s murder.

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