Directed by: Michael Apted
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Billy Campbell, Juliette Lewis, Noah Wyle, Tessa Allen
One of the taglines for Enough is, "Everyone has their limit," and Enough sure as hell tested mine. This absolute fiasco is a shoo-in for a top slot on my 10 Worst of 2002 list -- and that's no mean feat, considering what the first five months of 2002 have brought us. It's a lot like a bad movie once removed, which is to say that it's exactly the kind of bad movie that characters in a movie sometimes go to see. You know the sort -- movies where the wife asks why her husband cheated on her and he replies by saying things like, "Well, I'm a man." Such movies, of course, are wholly imaginary. Enough is all too real, and, yep, it has dialogue like that -- in fact, it boasts that very exchange. Sure Michael Apted has made some good movies in his time (Stardust, Agatha, Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorillas in the Mist) and his other recent release, Enigma, might be worthwhile. But it's worth remembering that he also made Critical Condition and that movie where Jodie Foster was raised by kangaroos or something. The premise here is to turn The Artist Formerly Known as J-Lo (who seems determined to disprove the idea that there's always room for J-Lo -- at least on movie screens) into a kind of boxing kangaroo so that she can goad her abusive husband (Billy Campbell) into attacking her and then kill him in self-defense. (Wouldn't it have been just as effective, more certain, and a hell of a lot easier to just buy a gun and shoot him in self-defense rather than go through all this training?) Believe it or not, that actually is the extent of the plot -- and worse, neither Apted, nor screenwriter Nicholas Kazan (son of Elia Kazan and author of the script for Reversal of Fortune) can manage to pull that off with any degree of coherence. It's bad right from the start when we find Jennifer Lopez saddled with the singularly improbable nickname of "Slim." If they insisted on using this sobriquet, they at least ought to have had the good sense never to show her walking away from the camera in blue jeans. As incomprehensible as this choice was, it seems pretty reasonable compared to the bright idea of peppering the film with intertitles that describe the action of the following scenes as if this were some sort of romantic comedy, e.g., "How they met." (Actually, the first title card merely reads, "Hey." I don't have any earthly idea why, but it does.) After transparently psychotic dream husband cheats on her and beats her a few times, we get the title, "More than enough," soon followed by, "You can run," and then "A new leaf," which signals J-Lo's attempt to start over incognito in Michigan (I couldn't help but think of the character in John Waters' Female Trouble going to Detroit to "find happiness in the automotive industry"). At this point, however, the device just vanishes from the film -- like they forgot to put in the rest of the titles, or maybe they meant to go back and take out the earlier titles and forgot to do that! Almost nothing in Enough makes any sense. Are we really to believe that anyone in this age of caller I.D. honestly still believes it takes "several minutes" to trace a phone call? What becomes of J-Lo's ex-boyfriend from Seattle? At one point the dialogue makes it sound like her husband has killed him -- and indeed we never see him again -- but at the end of the movie we find her headed back to Seattle apparently to re-join him. Maybe he got better, which is more than can be said of the movie: It's basically nearly two solid hours of cliches, bad dialogue and sheer tedium punctuated with unintentional laughs and -- at least at the screening I attended -- the gentle sound of someone snoring in the row behind me.