Projections - Movie Reviews

Monster in Law

Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan and Wands Sykes

Rated: PG-13
Reviewed by: Tony  
Release date: May 13, 2005 Released by: New Line Cinema

Have you ever been subjected to the old good news, bad news jokes? Here's one that is applicable to this film. A friend of mine got a phone call the other day telling him that there was good and bad news. Bad news is that your new Jaguar was struck and destroyed by a falling meteor. The good news is that your mother-in-law was the only one in it.

All kidding aside, after you've seen this film you'll know the mixed emotions one might feel receiving this call. In this film the joke is on Jennifer Lopez's character Charlotte. She has just found the man of her dreams, Kevin Fields, (played by Michael Vartan) a single surgeon. Charlotte is fooled by an ex-girlfriend into believing he's gay, but Kevin in reality has found style and sophistication in spite of being straight as they come.

The meteor in this particular joke is played by Jane Fonda after a 15 year screen absence. Fonda's Viola Fields is Kevin's mother whom once was a respected TV journalist. After being replaced by a much younger woman she had a mental breakdown.

After a few months of therapy Viola is free to continue her life. Problem is that her only child proposes to a girl she has only just met and known for 20 minutes. This new woman in her son's life creates some anger management issues as shown by the "inner thoughts" visualized on screen. It seems this controlling Mom is not about to let her son marry a temp job filling, dog walking opportunist.

With the help of her assistant Ruby (Wanda Sykes), Viola plots a series of actions that will derail the current marriage train. She suffers another breakdown, this one fake, and attempts to manipulate the couple to control all the wedding plans. She also provides temptation to her son from an old and willing girlfriend; she even moves in with the soon to be wed couple. This monster of a mother-in-law will stop at nothing.

The film is all formula: son can't imagine his mother as the bitch she is and Mom wins, the wedding is off; Mom caves, the wedding is on. Everyone lives happily ever after.

All in all this is not a bad film, but it's not good either. I had hoped Fonda would make a better choice on her return and after two serious bombs at the box office, I hoped J. Lo would have chosen a more demanding role.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Monster in Law C C- C C B- B+ C+ C+

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