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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Enough

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Russell Milton
Director: Michael Apted
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 115 Minutes
Release Date: May 2002
Genres: Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Bill Campbell, Tessa Allen, Juliette Lewis, Dan Futterman, Chris Maher, Noah Wyle, Ruben Madera

Review by Harvey Karten
3 stars out of 4

During the nineties a popular t-shirt sound-bite was "Die Yuppie Scum," but I don't think that was meant to hurt ordinary young, urban professionals. After all, what's wrong with being urban and professional and there's certainly nothing wrong with being young. The slogan, I'd guess, was directed against bright-faced people not too many years out of college or law school or graduate business school who were making more money than they deserved and who thought that they thereby owned the world. They could do what they want, order people around, flash their Beamer and plastic and buy anyone. The bad guy in Michael Apted's "Enough" is just that sort of character, a man who owned a highly successful construction company, had a trio of thugs as retainers, and a rogue L.A. cop (Noah Wyle) to do some of his real dirty work. The guy's name is Mitch (Bill Campbell), and because he's strikingly tall, handsome, rich, smooth and fairly young, he figured he could have the kind of family he wanted good looking wife, cute kid and still play around on the side. This is bad news but not something that deserves the kind of comeuppance that everyone in the audience knew he would get. The real issue here is that when his pretty wife Slim (Jennifer Lopez) took off with their daughter Gracie (Tessa Allen) after being slapped around and punched, he stalked her wherever she went. He not only stalked but had his rogue cop trace her phone calls and in one case attempt to run her off the road to her death.

"Enough" would be a testosterone picture if Apted, using Nicholas Kazan's screenplay (photographed brightly and crisply by Rogie Stoffers in L.A., San Francisco and parts of Southern Cal), relied in the usual men vs. men scenes, but since "Enough" deals with a woman's justifiable revenge on a guy out to kill her, I suppose we could call this an estrogen movie. Apted knows how to get the audience hearts pumping, even despite our knowing how everything will turn out, and employs one twist that only the most clever among the viewers would have anticipated.

Apted also uses a cute technique, not unlike that used by playwright Berthold Brecht in a concept known to theater-lovers as alienation, to tell the audience what's about to happen. For example, we see the words "How they met" flash quickly and then we watch how Slim and Mitch meet cute in a coffee shop. When the words "The conquering hero" hit the screen, we see the seemingly ideal husband Mitch buy a house on the spot from an elderly gentleman for way over market price, telling the resident, "Your kids are grown. You'd be happier in a smaller place." The trouble starts when Slim discovers that her prince has some princesses on the side and is not willing to play the game in order to live the good material life in California. Confronting the guy, she's punched, runs away, and is barely a step ahead of Mitch's network of shady friends. Luckily for Slim she has her own network including a rich father (Fred Ward) who had never before acknowledged his paternity, a generous ex-boyfriend (Dan Futterman), and a clever, man-hunting fellow- waitress (Juliette Lewis) to counteract the rich man's pals.

Luckily as well, Slim manages to get the money to take a crash course in self defense, becoming the equivalent of a 5th degree black-belt in less than a month (or so it seems). I wish that Apted would have given credit where credit is due: the technique she learns, one which some of the women in the audience would probably want to look into, is a system taught mostly to women in the Israeli army to fight against those who are stronger than they. It's called Krav Maga (accept on the last syllable), and provides for us the satisfactory closure to a well- acted work featuring a handsome villain who reminds me somewhat of a young Anthony Perkins--and a photogenic little girl. I don't have to tell you that J. Lo looks terrif.

Copyright 2002 Harvey Karten

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