J-Lo Strikes Back
A nightmare woke me up last night. Two of the most vicious warriors of all time went at each other in the corner of my bedroom. No, it wasn’t Genghis Khan and Mohammed Ali locked in furious battle. I could have slept through that one. But Yoda, still fierce from his Attack of the Clones mayhem, versus Jennifer Lopez, in her Terminatrix mode from Enough? A terrifying fight indeed.
Okay, I see too many films. But, as I’ve mentioned before, that’s what movie addicts do. And would I pass up one with J-Lo playing a wife who gets even with her husband for inflicting emotional and physical abuse on her and their little daughter? Not on your life. To me, Lopez has become one of the best physical performers on screen today. She made all the right moves in Selena – and I’ve been impressed with most of her subsequent work, even in the mediocre The Wedding Planner.
Lopez claims she trained hard in order to portray Enough’s docile wife who transforms herself into a strong woman bent on revenge. "I took three months to learn martial arts techniques used by the Israeli armed forces," she says. And it shows. During the climax of the film, Lopez is completely convincing as she pounds her character’s brute of a husband until he’s no longer a threat to anyone. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Sorry.
When Slim (Lopez) first marries Mitch (Bill Campbell), she believes he’s Prince Charming. Who wouldn’t? He’s handsome, wealthy, and attentive. But she doesn’t really know him. After five years of marriage, she discovers his infidelity and his temper. Why did it take that long, you ask? Pay attention. Mitch is handsome, wealthy, and still somewhat attentive. But, seriously, it’s probably because Slim has been busy raising a darling little girl (Tessa Allen) and taking care of a big beautiful house.
Mitch can’t understand why Slim refuses to accept his affairs with other women. "I’m the man," he declares. "I work and bring home the money, so I make the rules." I wanted to punch him out myself then and there – which surprised me because Campbell had already established such a sympathetic persona with me from his Once and Again television series. I’m bowled over by how creepy he is in this Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type role. By merely raising an eyebrow or slightly turning his head, Campbell turns Mitch into someone menacing and evil. Amazing. Another revelation comes from Noah Wylie of ER "good-guy" fame. Portraying Mitch’s underhanded friend with sleazy zest, Wylie also shows his ability to play a believable villain.
When Slim tries to escape with her daughter, Mitch pursues them while becoming more and more dangerous. Failing to find protection from the police and worried about putting her friends in jeopardy, Slim decides to take care of Mitch herself by preparing for a show down (which should win the MTV Award for Best Fight of the year).
Revenge movies fascinate me, and Enough is no exception. I mull over films like Death Wish and The Count of Monte Cristo for the longest time after seeing them. Maybe it’s because I’m basically a pacifist who finds some kind of release in movies like these. Although Enough, as directed by Michael Apted (Extreme Measures), delivers the dramatic tension and thrills I look for in revenge flicks, I can’t help feeling some guilt about my delight at the way it ends. Is Slim defending herself or committing murder?
While not a social documentary, Enough illustrates the hopelessness surrounding spousal abuse situations. However, here’s another movie, like In the Bedroom, sending a message that the end justifies the means. Even J-Lo can’t make me believe that’s true.
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "PG-13" for intense scenes of domestic violence, some sensuality and language.)