Dir: Michael Apted. US. 2002. 115 mins.

One of a handful of non-traditional chick-flicks hitting US screens this summer, Enough starts out as a promisingly taut woman-in-peril thriller but eventually degenerates into a questionable cross between a female Rocky and a Mission: Impossible-style action romp. Still, younger female moviegoers will certainly get a kick from seeing an athletic Jennifer Lopez kick some male butt. Nor will males necessarily be put off by the outcome of the film's gender battle. The result should be a sizeable Memorial Day opening in the US this weekend for distributor Sony and an eventual gross more in line with Lopez' mid-level hits The Wedding Planner and The Cell than with last summer's flop Angel Eyes. Internationally, the singer-actress' broad appeal - particularly in Hispanic markets - could help Enough perform above par for its genre.

Echoing similarly-themed hits like Double Jeopardy and Sleeping With the Enemy, Enough quickly sets its star up as the victimised partner of an abusive mate. Within 15 minutes, Lopez' hard-working waitress Slim has fallen for the charming and wealthy Mitch (Campbell) and settled down to an apparently happy family life with him and their daughter Grace in a posh LA suburb. Mitch only turns nasty when Slim confronts him over his dalliance with another woman. Pummelling his wife before stepping out to visit his mistress, Mitch calmly explains to Slim that such treatment is "the price you pay for having such a good life."

With the help of her former co-worker Ginny (Lewis), Slim escapes with Grace, finding a haven with an old boyfriend (Futterman) in Seattle. But Mitch, aided by a sleazy, misogynistic cop pal (ER's Wyle, cast interestingly against type), is on her trail. Seeking to start a new life with her daughter, the now impoverished Slim is forced to flee again, first to San Francisco and then to distant Michigan.

Teaming versatile British director Michael Apted (Coal Miner's Daughter, The World Is Not Enough) with screenwriter Nicholas Kazan (Reversal Of Fortune, Frances), Enough is strongest in its early stages, as a revenge thriller set against a social issue backdrop. Although he occasionally resorts to hackneyed cinematic devices, Apted maintains a satisfying tension and manages to give the story some emotional pull.

The tone begins to tip more towards action silliness as Slim starts her fight back against the predatory Mitch. First, she secures financial aid from her long lost and initially dismissive father, San Francisco Internet mogul Jupiter (Ward). Then she hooks up with a personal trainer/motivational guru to learn the self-defence skills - and gain the self-confidence - necessary to confront Mitch on his own violent terms. Slim's scheme to lure Mitch into a showdown on the eve of their child custody hearing unfolds like an episode from a spy caper. The showdown itself - nicely staged in a high-tech San Francisco apartment - provides the film with a crowd-pleasing climax, as the freshly empowered Slim finally gives Mitch his bloody due. (The violence is sufficiently contained to have earned the film a PG-13 rating in the US, allowing Sony to tap into Lopez's younger fan base.)

Lopez rarely seems comfortable as a suburban housewife and mum but she comes into her own as the black-clad revenger of the film's finale. Campbell is cleverly cast both to and against type: he's best known (in the US, at least) as the sensitive co-star of female-skewed TV series Once And Again. Here, his transformation from loving husband to sadistic brute isn't entirely believable, but it does serve to give the film a villain against who both male and female audiences can root.

Prod co: Irwin Winkler Productions
US dist:
Columbia Pictures
Int'l dist: Columbia
Prods: Irwin Winkler, Rob Cowan
Exec prod: E Bennett Walsh
Nicholas Kazan
Rogier Stoffers
Prod des:
Doug Kraner
Rick Shaine
David Arnold
Main cast:
Jennifer Lopez, Bill Campbell, Tessa Allen, Juliette Lewis, Dan Futterman, Fred Ward, Noah Wyle