Monday, 20 June 2011



Hollywood. Can we cheapen the issue at all? Can we take something that's of genuine direct concern to thousands of people, and reduce it to no-think multiplex fodder for optimum popcorn sales? Can we trivialise an issue of real importance, can we homogenise the suffering into a comfortable 15 rating? Yes We Can! Let's take domestic violence and make a glossy action thriller out of it - not a painful, raw picture of wife-beating as it really is for too many women, but a fluffy studio product that uses that agony as a thoroughly improbable vehicle for some righteous ass-kicking in the final reels.

Enough stars Jennifer Lopez as a struggling diner waitress (yeah, right) who meets the man of her, indeed every woman's, dreams in Billy Campbell. He's rich, handsome, doting and provides Lopez and, in due course, their young daughter, with everything they could possibly want. But he's also got a mistress and then he starts beating Lopez. He becomes a brutal sadist, a bully and a thug, stopping just short of wearing a cape while cackling, twirling his moustache and tying Lopez to the railray tracks. And when Lopez and the kid flee, he and his friends set off after them, until the only way out is to fight back as hard as he does.

The domestic abuse dished out in the real world is scarcely entertainment and isn't going to sell any tickets at the Dagenham Empire; maybe the arthouse cinema circuits if it's directed by someone like Ken Loach. Enough isn't interested in the reality, though, and has any number of dramatic devices shoehorned in to make it more palatable as a Friday night date movie: not least a long and spectacularly aggressive car chase which makes no narrative sense since Campbell presumably doesn't want his little daughter killed. Lopez also just happens to have an eccentric millionaire as her estranged father (Fred Ward), so there's a ready supply of cash to help her keep ahead of Campbell and his minions (a luxury not shared by most battered women) while adopting new identities and learning the basics of self-defence....

Finally, of course, it has to end with Lopez and Campbell going at it one-on-one in unarmed combat in his designer home - the final mutual beat-em-up is only there to get the audience hollering and whooping. On that popcorn level, Enough is centainly fun and it's efficiently put together by Michael Apted. But when a genuinely serious and genuinely destructive issue as domestic violence (according to the Women's Aid website, one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime) is used as the basis for a dramatically improbable Hollywood star vehicle, it somehow feels cheap and trivial. Not a total success, but a passable Friday night rental.


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