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Enough

Starring Jennifer Lopez; Billy Campbell
Screenplay by Nicholas Kazan
Directed by Michael Apted
website: www.sonypictures.com

IN SHORT: Two hours of junk. [Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of domestic violence, some sensuality and language. minutes]

Tell us if you've heard this one before: hard working young woman meets and marries the perfect man. Except for the fact that he beats her silly. So she and their perfect kidlet run away because, her lawyer tells her, going to Court would give Mitch a great reason to kill her. That being the dumbest sounding synopsis we could think of, it adequately sums up J. Lo's new flick, Enough. Actually, the word dumb doesn't adequately sum it up -- "stupid" was the comment we heard most often from the mouths of more than one person coming out of our screening. One use of that "s" word and heads started nodding and lips started wagging in agreement. It spread like a chain reaction.

It's been a rough life for Erin Schletter (Jennifer Lopez), who prefers to go by the nickname "Slim." With a low paying job as a diner waitress, she raises and protects a single digit daughter who likes to introduce herself as "Queen Elizabeth." That's all the yocks you'll get out of this sludge, folks. Slim's parents, she tells one and all, are dead. "Erin," by the way, has been dead for years as "Slim" has been on the run from a psycho hubbie for months. The psycho makes big bucks in construction and sends fake FBI agents to track down his wench. Slim's only protection is bought with money that she guilt trips out of a wealthy father who was never dead in the first place.

Enough is a perfect title for an incredibly stupid movie that doesn't know when to give it up and roll over. That brief "God haven't we heard this spiel before?" summary above doesn't come close to getting across how flat out C-grade uninventive it is. Yes, folks, "Let's Get Away With Murder Month" continues with a manipulative and preposterous pile of garbage that redefines the notion of trash, not already seen on a Lifetime Cable Movie of ht week starring Valerie Bertinelli as the beau up on sweet young thing.

With conveniently titled segments that let us know where we stand in the muck, our story begins back at the Red Car. There a yuppie looking type named Robbie (Noah Wyle) enters the eatery with a book in one hand and a red rose in the other, intending to woo the lovely Slim. Robbie gets his rose handed back to him by another, angrier patron of the diner, named Mitch (Billy Campbell). Mitch is angry because the day before he heard Robbie laying a wager with his buddies that he could get into Slim's pants in less than 24 hours. Having grabbed her attention and proved his chivalrous nature, even without the white horse, it is only a matter of time before Mitch and Slim are wed. The perfect party and the perfect house and the perfect baby girl soon follow. So does the disheartening discovery that Mitch has a French cruller, so to speak, getting her buns nibbled on the side.

Us lucky dweebs in the audience already know that the whole diner incident was a setup for some other kind of scam, one that Mitch and Robbie, who is not a yuppie, had run "many times." One screwed up this time because, according to Robbie, "you had to go and marry the bitch!" Cranky asks his audience: What the hell kind of scam could anyone pull on a waitress making a buck and a quarter an hour plus tips? She has no secret stash of cash. There is no indication of a double indemnity type insurance policy waiting to get cashed in and you know what? The point is moot and never mentioned again. Who needs story construction that gets in the way of Mitch mentally flipping one eighty and revealing himself as the wife beating scum we all knew he had to be. Construction, remember?

Slim wants to take Gracie and split. Mitch has a gun which he threatens to use. Yeah, big talker. Through a very silly, yet almost believable sequence of events, our femmes manage to steal away in the middle of the night, only to discover that Slim's credit cards are toast within an hour and her ATM and check cashing cards are similarly void the next morning. Without working capital, Slim moves from Seattle (where old boyfriend Joe is hassled by fake FBI dudes who murder his couch) and somehow resettles in Michigan. There her expert legal hack tell her that going to Court would be a way for Mitch to track down and murder her, so she shouldn't. Gotta love those Perry Mason types.

Exhibiting an education fueled by too many black and white police dramas, Slim makes sure that every phone contact she has with friends back home, including the weekly Sunday calls to Mitch's mom [two, three, four] are kept to an absolute minimum so they can't be traced. We're guessing that the concept of caller ID has not yet come to the Heartland but we could be wrong about that. Slim falls back on her dish-lugging-waitress-learned lock-picking and super spy-type building infiltration skills to survive. [two, three, four] Thank God for those chops, without which there would be no big bloody bash-up to end this flick and keep us otherwise distracted by how incredibly far this bomb reaches to try to keep the tension levels up . . . we forgot to mention that, thanks to daddy's thick wad of bills, Slim learns topnotch self defense tactics in virtually no time -- time sense is another thing this poorly scripted pile lacks -- and the brain power to formulate a plan whereby "with malice aforethought" doesn't apply and she can take her ex out of play, just as he had planned for her. There's a big bait and switch thing to set up Mitch's eventual murder attempt, but we're toeing the line about not revealing Third Act stuff here. Needless to say, it is a joke.

Why should Mitch want to bother with murder, excepting that he's nothing more than a two dimensional psychopath? He's got the money. He's got the French accessory on his arm and his legal ball and chain (that's Lopez) has demonstrated all the intelligence and forward thinking ability to hire a lawyer who is even stupider than she. Hell, this sucker of a script lost us back after the line about the initial meeting being part of "a scam" failing to materialize into anything like a subplot or conspiracy or third act surprise. Enough doesn't pack enough logic and/or sense to toast a bagel though we've almost made its mess of a story sound almost logical.

There's only one possible logical explanation for how this rehash of a recooked story could have gotten made in the first place. Somewhere standing on a ticket buying line is a teenaged J.Lo fan to whom movies are those things that videos are made from and, fer shur, there are just like too many videos out in the Blockbuster so if it's on the big screen it must be new. The producers think you're stupid and will go to see J.Lo because you like her music. Take it from a reviewer who had been previously impressed by the obvious hard work Lopez has put into other film efforts. She could have performed miracles as part of her role in this appalling script and it wouldn't have helped saved the thing.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Enough, he would have paid . . .

$0.00

Enough is trash and that's all it is.

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