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Enough - Special Edition (Widescreen)

Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // September 16, 2003
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by J. Doyle Wallis | posted September 16, 2003 | E-mail the Author
Slim (Jennifer Lopez), a working class waitress, marries what seems to be the perfect guy, Mitch (Billy Cambell), and after a few years of marriage, wealth, and having a daughter, Slim begins to see that life unravel. She finds out Mitch is cheating on her. When she confronts him, he slaps her around and insists she just put up with it. So, Slim takes her daughter and goes on the run from Mitch, who uses his connections and money to track her every move, threatening to sour her name and get custody of their daughter. Mitch employs thugs to find her and threaten her small circle of friends. So, she has to distance herself from her loved ones, including former boyfriend Joe (Dan Futterman, and that's Joe as in "Average Joe") and waitress bud Ginny (Juliette Lewis). After getting a new identity and support from her absentee millionaire father, Slim decides that the only way to win against Mitch is to take him on face to face and fight him for her life.

Now, domestic abuse is one of the sadder things that raises its ugly head in this world. But, any serious statement Enough may have to say about abuse is completely diluted under its basic Hollywood plotting... You too can survive abuse if you've got a rich mogul father to supply you with money to start a new life. You too in a matter of a month or two, can change your personality and become an adept fighter, lock picker, gadget junkie, and ninja, and kick your abusive husbands ass... It is all a bit too clean and pretty, and doesn't try in any way to present a close to true portrait of abuse. But, to be fair, this film is more of a slick thriller than some weighty drama. Problem is, it is a really, really dumb slick thriller.

Lopez's transformation is unconvincing and the story too predictable and insipid. As I watched the film, I imagined what it would be like if it had been made as a 70's exploitation film and how that gritty and looser approach could even make the broad strokes of even the evil husband character more enjoyable. Cartoonishness and painting a premise with stereotypes doesn't bother me in a down and dirty exploitation film. Thats is, like Mitch: The Evil White Man, Slim: the battered Hispanic Woman, her martial arts trainer: the Enigmatic Black Guru. If Enough had been made in 1974 by Jack Hill, with a more urban setting, and starred Pam Greer and Yaphett Kodo, you'd feel for the characters more and it would be a better rally cry for abused woman taking matters into their own hands and not putting up with being mistreated. With the sass, character, and grime of a Jack Hill sensibility, the unconvincing story and predictability of Enough would fall by the wayside and be more forgivable. She's Pam Greer, and she's had ENOUGH! Personally, I find the likes of I Spit on Your Grave a better revenge film, because at least it doesn't shoot for a mass appeal, popcorn veneer and knows it is just a unapologetic, caveman piece of cinema. Enough hits so many false, implausible notes, it manages to make exploitation classics like They Call Her One Eye more realistic and Ms. 45 look like a documentary.

And lets see, what are those unbelievable annoyances? How about the way Mitch seemingly becomes an abusive husband over the course of a few seconds? One assumes from her reaction, that he has shown no prior signs of being evil. Hard to believe considering the fact that even their first meeting is contrived, part of a pick up scheme that Mitch and a corrupt cop friend use to get women into bed. So, even the start of their relationship is disingenuous, yet she manages to marry and have children with him and not have a clue of his heartlessness and Bond villain nature until the day he suddenly hits her? When she goes to see a lawyer for advice, the lawyer first says she "must" go to the custody hearing, then contradicts himself by saying "He's using it as a chance to trap you", and that she has no chance. What else? Lopez spending most of the film in tight tank tops and sweatpants, making her "transformation" into a fighter a little harder to swallow because she is clearly athletic and fit from the start. She just picks the lock to get into Mitch's swank pad, yet he is clearly shown to have a high tech security system we assume she just magically overcomes. (Spoiler) And, it is no surprise that Lopez comes out the winner, but we are also supposed to believe she gets away with murder? Self defense my ass. She's barely got a scratch on her body, while Mitch's face looks like hamburger meat.

(END Spoiler)

Director Michael Apted continues to confuse me. Here is a man responsible for one of the best documentary series committed to film, the 21, 28, 35, and 42 Up series and great films like Coal Miner's Daughter and Gorky Park. Yet, he's also got films like this, Critical Condition, and Blink that leave me scratching my head how the same person made these movies. Not that he makes terrible films. It is just strange to see gems amidst a largely mediocre and insultingly pedestrian resume.

The DVD: Columbia Pictures

Picture: Anamorphic Widescreen, 2.40:1. Colors are presented very well, with the cinematography leaning towards a cooler color palette, especially in the night scenes which are often a nice, subdued blue. Image details are sharp with very little softening, and the contrast is adequately deep. No technical quibbles to speak of like compression problems or edge enhancement.

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, English and Spanish language tracks, and a Dolby Surround French track. Dialogue is clear, distinct, and firmly centered. There actually aren't too many instances of a lot of surround moments. The only two that really jump out at me were, of course the finale, and some nice screeching/nervous accelerating in a car chase sequence. Otherwise it is a pretty standard affair. The score is a mix between forgettable orchestrations and forced "Soundtrack Music", most of which is quite clumsy and even manages to ruin a few scenes, like Slim's crying jag in front of her kid which is underscored by an Aimee Mann song that doesn't fit the mood.

Extras: Chapter Selections--- Three Deleted Scenes with optional Directors commentary. Pretty brief and inconsequential scenes; Mitch calls the INS on her restaurant buds, she gets tutored in lock picking, and discusses how far she might have to go with Joe --- "Max on the Set" featurette (12:12). Standard promo doc interviewing the cast and such. Gave me a good laugh when Lopez she wanted to do the film because it was, "... kinda' like a female Rocky but much more intense, much more based on real life drama." If Enough is her idea of realism, then she is either very, very stupid, or very delusional.--- Featurettes: "A Clear Message" (9:01), "Enough is Enough" (11:03), and "Krav Maga: Contact Combat" (7:58). The latter was the only one I was really interested in and features some great footage from a cheaply produced Krav Maga instructional video.--- Lopez Music Video :"Alive"--- Filmographies (which aren't complete, by the way, at least not Apted's)--- Trailers for the film, plus other Lopez titles--- Two Commentary Tracks, one with Director Michael Apted and writer Nicholas Kazan, the other with producers. Apted and Kazan appeared very talky, if a little dry, and keep the convo moving with behind the scenes stuff and technical observations. The less said about the producers track the better; it was boring and, like many producer tracks, very self serving.

Conclusion: This special edition really isn't so special. Many films in their initial release have this many extras. I guess it is another money making ploy, releasing a barebones edition, then a little later making fans upgrade with this "special edition" that could have been made available as the first release. If you are a fan, this is the one to pick up. But, no amount of extras can cover up a bad piece of cinema, and that is just what Enough is. If you are curious, give it a rental, but for me it was just another diluted, boneheaded, PG-13 Hollywood thriller.

In light of his recent death, if you want a good revenge thriller, sit down with Charles Bronson's Death Wish. Trust me, you feel for him and believe his transformation into a figure of vengeance more than you do Lopez.

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