Monster-in-Law (2005)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Farce, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - May 13, 2005 (USA)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - Germany, United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

When Jane Fonda decided to make a comeback in Monster-in-Law, at least two things should have scared her away: 1) the terrible script, and 2) her co-star, Jennifer Lopez, who hadn't had a critical success since 1998 (Out of Sight). Yet forge on she did, and the result was one of the most critically lambasted films of 2005. The erratic behavior of Fonda's Viola Fields is supposed to be explained away by a televised breakdown on her talk show, when the world-renowned journalist strangles a Britney Spears lookalike who also resembles the young airhead replacing her. But even Cruela De Vil couldn't compete with Viola in sheer malice, and immediately, Fonda goes from dignified icon returning to the screen to has-been who can't pick a script -- face-planting into a plate of tripe, to make matters worse. Initially an innocent victim, Lopez' Charlie soon gets into the mud-slinging with equal vigor, dragging them both down below the level of pitiable. Even more frustrating is Michael Vartan's Kevin, whom the script forces to stand idly by and play dumb as he fails to recognize the devious agendas of either woman. Nice try adding Wanda Sykes for comic relief, but she only talks a good game, spending much of the time as Viola's spineless whipping girl. After debuting promisingly with Legally Blonde, director Robert Luketic has started to seriously stumble with his third picture, which is truly monstrous indeed.