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Monster in LawMonster-in-Law

Starring: Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan
Directed by: Robert Luketic




Bluntly speaking? Monster in Law is one of those homogenized paint-by-numbers Hollywood commodities that'll have about five people in a theater of 300 roaring, and the rest heading towards Narnia-ville or sneaking into the theater next door. It's got nothing new, and wastes Jane Fonda's infamous "return to film.' Further more, when will Hollywood actually stop giving Jennifer Lopez leading film roles? Here her acting is teenage film star deep, and here her continual aw-shucks golly-gee life's grand attitude is just plain old speed-slap her grating.

Story goes…Do gooder and struggling multi-jobber Charlotte "Charlie" Cantillini (read-a-liny Jennifer Lopez) is tired of living alone - but there just aren't any great guys out there…

But, then suddenly, a handsome fella (Michael Vartan) starts popping up everywhere she is. This catch-of-a-lifetime is also a doctor no less - 'cause ya know that happens all the time. And before you can say, "Hold the crème on that Mochachino" the two meet, fall madly in love, and move in together - within a month of dating.

But, now that the "his and hers" towels are properly hung, Charlie must finally meet her oh-so-perfect (with a slight infusion of "mommy's boy" beneath his L.L.Bean wears) beau's mother.

Mom, aka Viola (Jane Fonda), is an aging award-winning bigwig news gal (think Barbara Walters-ish). She has only her career and her son to dote upon. When she learns a common nobody and her perfect doctor boy are actually thinking about getting wed, her scheming mind begins to twirl. This commoner (Latino no-less) will not be a part of her family. Viola decides she will drive away Charlie - and viola Viola becomes the mother-in-law to be from hell. Hence the name…

Cue the comedy family squabble cliches and off we go. In fact, the film is a lot like a big frilly-accented virgin Mai Tai cocktail at a Motel 6 Leisure Lounge - made with generic brand mix. Even the film's token gay-guy friend to Charlie, Remy (Adam Scott), is almost asexual - ambiguous. Is he, or isn't he? It's almost distracting. There are a few well-done laughs in the hands of an over-the-top ala Sunset Boulevard-y bits Jane Fonda whips up, and Wanda Sykes as "Viola's" suffering long-time personal assistant, supplies a few one-liners for fill giggles. The other positive note is a short cameo by Elaine Stritch (the Ethel Barrymore of the new millennium) actually briefly wakes you up for her short scene - but otherwise this just couldn't be worse…wait, yes they could have had Paris Hilton somewhere in there. Skip this poodlepoop melage of waste.

Snack recommendation: Red Bull© is highly recommended - 'cause the laughs aint gonna keep you up for this rehashed hoopla...



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