UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Movie Review: Enough Is Too Much.

Midway through Enough an title-card flashes across the screen: “Get Out”. Sound advice, and I should have taken it.

It’s not so much that Enough is a bad movie, it’s that it’s bad in such a relentlessly unoriginal way. One gets the impression it wasn’t so much made by a film crew as designed by a committee of market researchers.

The plot, what there is of it, concerns unlucky-in-love working girl Slim (Jennifer Lopez) whose life is turned upside down when her too-good-to-be-true husband Mitch (the almost life-like Billy Campbell) turns out, shockingly, to have been…well, too good to be true. After seven years of marital bliss-represented by gauzy sunsets and saccharine pop songs, it’s romance a la Hallmark-he one night suddenly turns crazy and abusive, and the movie turns from shallow melodramatic love story to inept melodramatic thriller. Slim escapes with her daughter and together they make a valiant bid for audience sympathy.

J-Lo has it pretty rough at this point. More of a screen presence than a legitimate actress, Lopez sinks beneath the weight of heavy-handed dialogue and a wardrobe of frumpy Capri pants and soccer-mom sweaters (which, try as they might to make her look “average”, cannot obscure the fact that J-Lo is, well, J-Lo).

Luckily, she has a stock supply of cinematic characters to help her out, including the Down-To-Earth-“Us Girls Have Got To Stick Together”-Best-Friend (Juliette Lewis in a role she is simply too good for), the Ex-She-Never-Should-Have-Left Old Boyfriend (Dan Futterman. No comment), and that stalwart plot device, the Gruff-But-Sentimental-And-Fabulously-Wealthy-She-Hasn’t-Seen-Him-Since-She-Was-Two-But-He-Comes-Through-When-She-Needs-Him Father (the great Fred Ward, who seems to have tongue firmly in cheek).

After spending the better part of two hours running from her husband (who has inexplicably mutated from abusive spouse to comic-book style super-villain with a network of spies and thugs at his command), Slim decides to take a stand and…ya da, ya da, ya da. If you haven’t had “enough” by this point, God bless ya’.

One big problem is that Enough leaves nothing to the imagination. Whenever the audience has a question, some character or other pops up to answer it. Why does the husband act the way he does? Just let him sit down to dinner, and he’ll tell us himself. Why doesn’t J-Lo report him to the police? Just listen to the good officer as he explains how ineffective that would be.

The worst part of it is not only does the movie tell its audience not to think, it doesn’t do any thinking of its own. Its plot simply reiterates what we’ve seen in countless other B-grade psycho-dramas, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the screenplay was actually written by piecing together left-over clichés from abandoned Lifetime Originals telescripts. In fact, apart from the celebrity presence of Lopez, the movie has little to differentiate it from the kind of programs that dominate cable television shows. How Enough ever made it to the big screen is a mystery. Even its bland production values and textbook camera direction suggest that its true place is the talking box.

Some of the writing is bizarre, (Mitch to Slim-“Are you gonna give me babies?”), some absurdly pretentious (Juliette Lewis: “You have a divine animal right…”) and some simply pathetic (Slim’s daughter, trying way too hard to be cute, sees San Francisco for the first time: “It’s sparkly!”). All of it is awful.

The fact that Lopez’s character has no real name, and is simply known by the nickname “Slim” throughout the entire film, should be enough to point out the audacious lack of character development in this production.

Not content to trivialize the serious issue of domestic abuse, Enough trivializes everything it touches. To exploit the trauma of abuse as fodder for such sensationalistic, lowbrow entertainment is insulting enough, but to do it in such an off-hand, apathetic, and almost cynical way (as if the producers were figuring out how little effort they had to exert to make a profit), is just depressing. I mean, How J-Lo can you go?

Much of the time, Enough makes no sense. Most of the time, you hardly even care. You’re just waiting for J-Lo to start kicking some ass, like you were promised in the previews. When that scene finally comes, about an hour and a half in to the film, it is surprisingly adrenaline free, as hollow as everything else. The amazing thing is that Enough manages to be too much to stomach while simultaneously being very close to nothing at all.

P.S: If, for some reason, you decide not to listen this reviewer and still want to go see this movie, at least bring along a friend so you have someone to talk to. This is the kind of movie that is only really entertaining when you can make fun of it. Better yet, just take a trip to the movie’s official website; it’ll tell you more than you could ever care to know about this destined-to-be-forgotten film. Plus, it’s running some sort of quiz, the results of which are far more disturbing than any Hollywood thriller. Apparently, “0% of men polled felt that individuality was more important than success and love” and “59% of women polled said they had enemies.” Enemies!? Good Lord. Maybe life is dumber than art after all.