Rating: PG-13 for violence, brief nudity
Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Guilty pleasure, be thy name. Jennifer Lopez kicks serious ass in this glossy female fantasy about having it all and throwing it right back atcha.
Catchy chapter titles such as “How They Met”, “Our Happy Family”, and “More Than Enough” lead the narrative way. Each title fronts a snappy vignette chronicling the traditional stages of meeting, mating, and creating the ultimate nuclear family. Lopez plays Slim, a struggling diner waitress who meets handsome (and loaded) hubby Mitch (Billy Campbell) on the job, and goes on to marry him and sire his child. But all is not well in Domesticville. Slim senses that Mitch is pulling away, a suspicion that’s confirmed when she discovers he’s sleeping with another woman.
Unhappy with the new social developments, Slim confronts her red-handed husband. His reaction is standard Sexist Pig: Men have needs, I make the money/I make the rules, etc, etc. Those soothing words aren’t good enough for Slim, who grabs her child and attempts to leave the bastard in the dead of night, only to get beaten to within an inch of her life. Once she successfully breaks away, it’s a classic cat-and-mouse game of hide-and-seek with Mitch the Uber-Stalker.
Cut it, print it. The vengeful ex-husband is nothing new, nor is the spurned wife bolstered by her basic animal right to protect herself and her offspring (think “Double Jeopardy”). But Lopez’ natural screen presence creates a fresh perspective, as does Campbell’s cool and sinister control (not to mention Mitch’s steadfastly creepy philosophy that he always gets what he wants and what he wants is to hang on to his wife and kid).
Half the battle of mounting a successful mother and child on-the-run project is casting the right kid. Tessa Allen (as 5-year old Gracie) is a real find – endearing, emotive, and just shy of the hyper-precociousness that habitually plagues movie children. The third act is an empowering female scenario that lends true grit. An I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore-so-I’m-going-commando spin on taking control of the situation, and expressing with conviction that enough is enough.