Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
USA, 2002. Columbia Pictures, Winkler Films. Screenplay by Nicholas Kazan. Cinematography by Rogier Stoffers. Produced by Rob Cowan, Irwin Winkler. Music by David Arnold. Production Design by Doug Kraner. Costume Design by Shay Cunliffe. Film Editing by Rick Shaine.
Hey, if they can Redux Apocalypse Now, why can’t they redo Sleeping With The Enemy and give it a better ending? An abusive husband is the evil villain once again in this nail biting thriller that has many genuine moments of suspense, even the ones you can spot a mile away. Jennifer Lopez is a tough-talking waitress named Slim who one day meets Mitch, the man of her dreams (Billy Campbell) and marries him. A few years after buying their dream home and having the perfect daughter, Slim discovers evidence of infidelity on Mitch’s part. When he announces that his paying the bills around the house gives him the right to make the rules and play around with whomever he chooses, then adds to it by getting physically violent, she decides to get herself the hell out of there, but it takes a few bad beatings before she is finally free of him. Changing her name and appearance, crossing state lines and finding refuge in friends, Slim keeps getting to places where she feels safe but it never lasts long before Mitch catches up with her and she’s on the run again. So, what’s she going to do? Find a sympathetic man of authority and ask him to help her? Hell no, this ain’t no Ashley Judd movie! Instead, J-Lo goes Tae-Bo, training herself in martial arts and self-defense, recruiting help from her shady estranged father (Fred Ward) and going after the bad guy herself…after all, self defense is not murder! Sure it’s hokey, and there are few surprises, but Slim gives Mitch the revenge of a lifetime, one that suggests delightfully that maybe violence is the answer (sometimes). Lopez is excellent in the lead role, one that no one else could have played as well, and Campbell successfully tears down his leading-man softy persona and plays an incredibly convincing meanie.