Is America ready to see its favorite iced-up, well-manicured diva, Jennifer Lopez, all glammed-down and kicking ass as a battered wife in "Enough" next weekend? J. Lo hopes so, because there's more to the thriller than meets the eye.
"There's twists and turns and it's exciting," Lopez explained, "but it also has a message, which is what attracted me to it in the first place which is an empowering thing."
Lopez portrays a woman named Slim who's trapped in an abusive marriage to Mitch, played by "Once and Again" star Bill Campbell. Slim escapes from Mitch and hides out with her 5-year-old daughter. When Mitch discovers their whereabouts and refuses to leave them in peace, Slim realizes what she has to do to ensure their safety: Get buff, take a martial art and take him out.
"[If] you're in these negative situations negative relationships, whatever you can get out," Lopez said. "The power to get out of those things is always within yourself. That's the message of the movie."
"Enough" features some heavy-duty action sequences in its final act that required that the dance-club princess become a believable lean, mean fighting machine.
"I read the script and I knew I was going to have to do [the] whole sequence at the end," Lopez said. "I was like, 'Oh, gosh, I'm going to have to learn T'ai-Chi or Tae Kwon Do [how] can you learn that to an expert level in such a short time?' "
To prepare quickly, Jen's personal trainer suggested that she study Krav Maga, the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces which has recently become trendy in the States. The fighting style focuses on combating realistic scenarios with moves that are based on common, instinctual reactions.
"[Krav Maga] levels out the playing field between men and women," Lopez explained, "Where it doesn't matter how big or tall or strong you are. You can actually maneuver around that. It's about getting out of the way, counter attacking and using whatever you can to get the upper hand."
So should men tremble at the sight of this one-woman avenger? For that matter, is her real-life husband, Cris Judd, scared?
"I'm a pussycat," Lopez said, smiling. "What is there to be scared of?"
"Enough," co-starring Dan Futterman ("Judging Amy"), Juliette Lewis ("Natural Born Killers") and Russell Milton, opens nationwide May 24.
Ryan J. Downey, with additional reporting by Gideon Yago