Stars: Jennifer Lopez, Billy Campbell, Juliette Lewis, Dan Futterman, Fred Ward, Bill Cobbs, Noah Wyle
Director: Michael Apted
Screenwriter: Nicholas Kazan
Jennifer Lopez plays Slim, a smart Los Angeles waitress who meets the man of her dreams in Mitch (Billy Campbell), a wealthy contractor. They quickly marry and produce a daughter, Gracie (Tessa Allen). Then one day, after everything was going along swimmingly, Mitch turns from great guy to sadistic brute. Why? The audience is given no clue. Mitch suddenly admits to having multiple affairs because he feels, as a man, it is his God-given right to do so. And Slim can take it or take it. He gives her no options. He says he still wants her and his daughter too. Why? Because he’s a rich possessive pig. That much is made clear to the audience.
After Mitch adds a number of kicks and slaps to his repertoire, Slim decides enough is enough and she attempts her great escape, not when creepy hubby is off at work, but in the dead of night when he’s sleeping right next to her. Why? so we can watch Slim get brutalized again. By now, we really dislike Campbell’s character.
Aided by waitress friend Ginny (Juliette Lewis), Slim eventually does escape with daughter Gracie in tow She moves to other cities and changes her appearance and identity. But each time, Mitch expertly manages to track her down to threaten again and again. Phone tracking, computer hacking … it doesn’t matter. Mitch is an accomplished creep. He first hires a bunch of thugs to terrorize Slim’s old friend Joe (Dan Futterman) who tires to harbor her. Then he sends his buddy Robbie (Noah Wyle), a dirty L.A. cop who, even though he knows how much Mitch treasures Gracie, he tries to run Slim’s car off the road when Gracie is inside. Go figure.
When an upcoming custody hearing threatens her little bit of stability, Slim’s wayward father “Jupiter” (Fred Ward) who just so happens to be wealthy himself, comes through for her in a number of ways, including setting her up with a self defense instructor. Mitch’s expected butt kicking is only moments away. It’s what everyone’s waiting for and Lopez handles the scenes with the right amount of toughness.
Lotta says: It’s predictable from the start but at least it pays off with a good whopping. Abused women everywhere should love it. Plot illogic, some of which is described above, torpedoes it. Ward’s appearance as Slim’s father is a convenient but wholly unbelievable touch.