from Film Forum, 05/30/02
Director Michael Apted's new movie Enough may remind audiences of Julia Roberts's hit film Sleeping with the Enemy. Here again we have a woman whose husband suddenly reveals himself to be a monstrous, abusive, controlling villain. Jennifer Lopez plays Slim, a waitress, wife, and mother determined to protect herself and her daughter from Mitch (Billy Campbell of TV's Once and Again), who is not only unfaithful but violently insistent on having everything his own way.
"It is difficult to summarize the story of Enough without making it sound somewhat ridiculous," says Michael Elliott. "But we cannot dismiss it entirely. Apted … has the talent to keep the suspense taut and pace clipped. Unfortunately, his skills behind the camera can do little to change what screenwriter Nicholas Kazan has left on the printed page. Not only is character development an oxymoron here, the characters, undeveloped as they are, don't make much sense."
A critic for the USCCB writes, "Slim's vengeful intentions … in many ways denigrate the very real danger of abused spouses. It says that if you are strong enough, disciplined enough and willing to learn keen self-defense tactics, you can fight back and win. Had the film focused more seriously and realistically on the danger of spousal abuse and its repercussions, it might have made a powerful impression. Instead, it is a very Hollywoodesque take on domestic violence where the bad guy is punished and the good guy, no matter by what means, wins." Likewise, Douglas Downs (Christian Spotlight) says, "I honestly cannot recommend Enough because of the negative solutions offered for a serious problem in our society." And Paul Bicking (Preview) says that "poor messages about legal protection for spouse abuse and planned retaliation, several obscenities, and graphic brutality" will turn off "discerning viewers."
Tom Snyder (Movieguide) writes, "Enough does pack some emotional punch. After all, who can resist rooting for a mother who's trying to protect herself and her child from an abusive husband? The ending plays a bit like some kind of wrestling program. Titles like 'Marital Smackdown' or 'Suburban Cage Fight' come to mind. Although the movie strongly condemns adultery and domestic abuse, Slim's ultimate solution seems to be somewhat humanistic."
Phil Boatwright says, "What starts out as a poignant look at spousal abuse and the difficulties of obtaining legal justice and protection for battered wives eventually slides into a silly and sadistic Lifetime-television-for-woman-like revenge fantasy. Filmmakers, if you're going to address this disturbing subject, don't turn it into a cartoon."
Mainstream critics like Ebert use the word cartoon in their reviews as well. Ebert complains, "Enough is a nasty item masquerading as a feminist revenge picture. It's surprising to see a director like Michael Apted and an actress like Jennifer Lopez associated with such tacky material."