Monster in Law - Monster of a film

New Line
Duration: 102min
Category: comedy
Available: On DVD
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It seems that the movies Meet the Parents and My Best Friend's Wedding have met, fallen in love and reproduced. The bouncing bundle of joy is a little flick called Monster-in-Law. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of either Meet the Parents or My Best Friend's Wedding. Maybe if I had been I wouldn't have wanted to pluck out my own eyes while watching this spawn of hell.

Monster-in-Law is the tale of cute little Jennifer Lopez who meets the man of her dreams. She must have fairly vanilla dreams because this knight in shining armour is the pretty yet vapid Michael Vartan (Alias). Unfortunately for the happy couple, Vartan's mother can't stand Jenny from the block probably because she comes from the block. There doesn't seem to be any other reason for this hatred except that Mommy is capital "C" crazy. It certainly couldn't be that Mommy is a racist. Despite the fact that Mommy's whole opinion of Lopez is formed upon first viewing her, the film insists there is nothing prejudiced about Mommy's distaste. The film doesn't really seem to care too much about forming a motivation and instead just heads to the bickering.

Mommy is played by Jane Fonda making her grand return to the cinema. I guess she was following in the shoes of Barbara Streisand who also picked a formula comedy with an insipid script for her grand return to cinema. I guess they want audiences to remember what a great actresses they were and not be distracted by good performances today. Fonda clumsily camps her way through Monster-in-Law with little or no style. In the end she's no Jane Crawford.

It doesn't really matter as Lopez is too busy looking as cutesy, innocent, and awkwardly lovable as she can to worry about anything as silly as acting or anything. Since "Waiting for Tonight" the singer/actress/dancer/whatever isn't worried about being an actress anymore. She's a movie star!

Monster-in-Law wastes the talents of Wanda Sykes. In an R rated film, she could have gone to town but here she spends too much time rolling her eyes never really able to tell these Beeatches just how pathetic they are. There is one scene with a bag of nuts that made me remember that Sykes is usually quite funny but that is really the only time she has to shine.

The film is saved from complete ruin by the sudden and all too short appearance of Elaine Stritch who breezes in, throws around a few insults and disappears as fast as they come. At least I got to smile once or twice during her scenes. I wish the movie had been about her character.

I imagine even fans of these sorts of formula, isn't romance wonderful, sorts of garbage will be disappointed in Monster-in-Law even if it does manage to include all the expected clichés. My least favorite is the gay best friend! I really hope this 21st century version of the Amos and Andy-like stock character goes the way of the dinosaur fairly soon. I don't know how much more I can take.

Review By: Collin Smith

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