I know that “Enough” will be compared with “Sleeping with the Enemy,” the Julia Roberts thriller, but there’s all the difference in the world between the two stories, or to be more exact, the two male villains. Both films are about psychotic husbands stalking after their wives who have run away from them, but while the villain in “Sleeping with the Enemy” had a real point of view, a believably psychotic grudge, the villain in “Enough” is just a wind up toy. He just keeps going and going until he gets knocked down. There’s no clue as to how he lives and breathes. He was born two hours ago.
“Enough” begins with a meet cute between the husband(Bill Campbell), a sweet-natured businessman who falls in love with Slim(Jennifer Lopez), a waitress. They marry, have a child, but then one day, Slim finds evidence of an affair. When she confronts her husband Mitch, he turns violent and explains to her that she is nothing more than his slave. Slim escapes with the child, moving from town to town, while Mitch, with all kinds of resources at his disposal, hunts after her.
Who is Mitch exactly and what does he think of himself? There’s not a clue in “Enough” as to what makes his villain tick. He transforms early in the film into an obsessive, paranoid madman, but why? He reminds me of the villain in a movie called “The Hitcher,” a film about a psychotic who hitches a ride with a motorist and then sadistically frames and tortures the young innocent with no explanation of his actions or origin. Mitch is like that. As the Lopez character moves with her child from town to town, navigating a maze of crooked cops(who are on Mitch’s payroll) and different identities, we’re just pleading for some explanation of Mitch’s motives. He can’t be obsessed with getting his child back because he tries to kill her and Lopez by driving them off the road. Because he’s committed adultery early in the film it takes away all of the righteous indignation that the Patrick Bergin character in “Sleeping with the Enemy” felt towards his wife. You’ll recall that his character was a neat freak who punished his wife if there was even a speck of dirt on the floor. Mitch is so underdeveloped and dumb that he decides early in the film that sex with Lopez’s character isn’t stimulating enough for him. With Jennifer Lopez? He should be convicted of cinematic perjury.
“Enough” is a very bad film and so was “Sleeping with the Enemy,” but at least that film had a first act. It’s amazing how many weird things you can find believable in movies, but then you see a film like “Enough,” with its seemingly plain, ordinary setting and believability goes to hell. I do not believe for instance that a)any hundred pound woman taking kickboxing lessons would feel empowered enough, or would be encouraged, to fight a man twice her size; b)that teams of cops would risk their careers to cover for a scumbag creep who has very little to offer aside from his money and winning personality; c)that the Mitch character could possibly feel anything towards himself other than disgust. What does he expect to happen anyway? Murder the wife and the kid?
“Enough” has an impressive pedigree, although the title of leading man is one that wooden Bill Campbell does nothing to deserve. He doesn’t get any help. “Enough” was directed by Michæl Apted, an old craftsman, and it was written by Nicholas Kazan whose written some good movies like the great “Reversal of Fortune.” Jennifer Lopez remains a fetching star, so what happened? Maybe “Enough” was such easy work for all parties involved that the project seemed like a respite from more demanding and riskier stuff. “Enough” is a graceless and miserable film from which I’m sure they’ll all recover from, a whole lot sooner than I will, or the people who work at the abused women’s hotline.