Review: “Enough”

“Sleeping with the Enemy” was a cheesy B-Grade thriller sure, but the then still pre-superstar Julia Roberts was surprisingly convincing and Patrick Bergin’s over the top bad guy at least was effectively sinister. “Enough” on the other hand is a watered down clone from what was originally a pretty weak base in the first place. Aside from the high calibre cast and crew, the material here is pure TV movie quality at best and its astonishing how it got greenlit as a major movie.

Poor J-Lo. After some great initial choices for acting from trashy fun with “Anaconda” to superb work in “Out of Sight”, she’s now stuck in C-movie hell with last year’s wishy-washy “Angel Eyes” and this in which she’s not only hardly recognisable but also gives what has to be the only performance I’ve seen her in so far that I’d say demeans her as an actress (as before now she’s regularly surprised me with how good she is).

Billy Campbell is best known for two things – always playing a nice guy, and one of the best asses in show business (as an emotionally and sexually secure man I can say I sure wish my ass would like that). Neither shows up in this, just Campbell doing a rather over the top bad guy and seems very miscast, as does his major croonie in the form of a smirking Noah Wyle whose not really a guy you’d run away in fear of. Dan Futterman I’ve been a big fan of for years and here he plays a likable if forgettable nice guy who helps out Lopez. Lewis has a enjoyable but underwritten girlfriend role too.

As a thriller this never really clicks sadly. The back story of how the loving couple crumbled feels very rushed, and Campbell’s sudden change of demeanour remains forced throughout. Lopez spends most of the film on the run and despite a bad use of paranoia with Campbell able to track her in a way only a Director of an Intelligence agency can, there’s only one or two effective jump scenes – including one genuinely freaky bit involving a soap on a rope of all things.

The men of this movie are treated as either utter dicks who can’t keep their penises under control or likeable self-deprecating push overs – the subject matter also feels about 10 years out of date in terms of the equality levels that women have achieved. As she gradually becomes more assertive, things do pick up toward the end with the inevitable (and drawn out) confrontation proving satisfying even if her sudden aggressive move into his setting feels too out of character. Still its a long 90 minute haul to get to that final act payoff and once there, the reward simply ain’t enough.

Michael Apted has proven himself a seasoned director (eg. “Enigma”) and despite the truly hokey story and dialogue, he has made good casting choices and is able to salvage some interest in a few sequences such as an effective motivational building practice fight scene, and a great bit where she learns the layout of his new place without using her eyes. The score is decent but nothing special and sadly that describes the movie. Its both Apted and J-Lo’s most disappointing flick yet and hard to recommend even on video.