Monster-In-Law

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan, Wanda Sykes, Adam Scott

Director: Robert Luketic

Have you ever felt like giving your overbearing mother-in-law a well deserved right hook? As exaggerated as this film is, it does have some genuinely feasible issues that a lot of aspiring daughters-in-law will undoubtedly relate to. Charlie (Jennifer Lopez) is an adorable, young, free spirited lady who hasn’t had much luck with love until she meets and falls for Kevin (Michael Vartan). Michael takes their relationship to the next level by introducing Charlie to his highly-strung mother Viola (Jane Fonda) and her loyal assistant Ruby (Wanda Sykes). Everything goes fine until he proposes marriage to Charlie right in front of his mother and Charlie happily accepts. Viola has only just recovered from a mental breakdown and even before that she was always quite volatile so she freaks out at this news and decides to make it her mission to ensure that this marriage doesn’t happen. But it soon becomes painfully obvious to her that Charlie isn’t exactly a push over and so a hilarious clash of the Titans ensues.

Director Robert Luketic has skilfully managed to get his two main characters to do some really nasty things to each other but still maintain the film’s overall sweetness. It is exactly the kind of film that it is being marketed as, a good old fashioned extended catfight between a diva from the old school and a current diva. The romantic comedy issue refreshingly takes a back seat as the movie is all about J-Lo and Jane Fonda – everybody else is just a supporting character.

The stand out performance is by Wanda Sykes, her onscreen banter with Jane Fonda is priceless, she steals every scene that she’s in. Jane Fonda is still on form despite an absence of 15 years convincingly portraying a woman who feels that she is about to lose everything that she holds dearest to her heart and as such will stop at nothing to keep it. I have always felt that Jennifer Lopez is a gifted actor but she just doesn’t seem to get good roles, only occasionally as in SELENA, OUT OF SIGHT, ANGEL EYES and MONEY TRAIN. This time around she gets to spar with the great Jane Fonda and it may not be Oscar worthy but it is a very funny and very entertaining performance.

4 out of 6 stars

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