Guest Author - Rain Battle
When a young woman finds true love, nothing can stop her from marrying the man of her dreams. Unless it's not something, but someone who is determined to keep her away from her man. Things get especially sticky when that 'someone' is the man's mother. In a new romantic comedy, "Monster-In-Law," a woman faces just such a challenge.
Jennifer Lopez is Charlie, is a woman who like many women, has just about had it with men. She dates a myriad of wrong guys, until one day, she meets Kevin (Michael Vartan) a.k.a. Mr. Right. The chemistry is instant, the love blooms, and before long, he's whisking her away to his family estate to meet... His Mother. Enter Jane Fonda as Viola, a suddenly-fired television anchor who is still reeling from her career's sudden end. When her son (who is a doctor) comes home with a woman (who works for a temp agency) she is instantly determined to do whatever it takes to prevent their marriage. With the help of her assistant Ruby (Wanda Sykes) she proceeds to use any tactic available to her to scare, harrass, intimidate, and destroy the woman who would dare to steal her son's heart.
Expectations ran very high for this film's release for two reasons: After a nearly 15 year hiatus, Jane Fonda decided to return to the big screen; This film was directed by the same team that directed the funny and popular "Legally Blonde." Unfortunately, it now seems that Ms. Fonda's return was a bit premature because this role was certainly beneath her. As Viola, she is absolutely manical. The film never quite explains exactly why she is so demonic toward sweet little Charlie, so one can only assume she is insane, thrives on cruelty, or perhaps both. The pranks she plays on Charlie border on criminal and it isn't long before we actually begin to dislike her so much, we don't care when she (predictably) has a change of heart.
On the other hand, the bold streak doesn't run in the family because Kevin, lukewarmly played by Michael Vartan (Alias), is extremely boring. It's also a bit strange that he never really defends his fiance from his obviously mean mother, so why would anyone want to marry him? Jennifer Lopez is fairly adept in her role as kind-hearted, naive Charlie, a woman who just can't believe she's lucky enough to have a handsome doctor interested in her. She should be adept at this role, since she's done it before. In "Enough," she played a kind-hearted, naive woman who can't believe a wealthy man wants to be with her. Unfortunately for her, neither man is really worth it.
With the exception of Wanda Sykes as Ruby, this script is a write-by-numbers typical romance. Wanda Sykes does what she does best. Just like her days on "The Chris Rock Show," she is witty, smart-alecky, and funny. Everything else is a no-brainer: we know from the beginning that the evil mom-in-law will have an epiphany, realize her son has a wonderful woman, and everyone will live happily ever after. The plot fails because by the time that scene rolls around, we don't even want Charlie to marry Kevin. What we do want for her? Revenge.
Extra Extra! Tidbits About the Movie...
*Quote - "She's not a flaw, she's the Grand freakin' Canyon!" - Charlie referring to her future mother-in-law.
*Songworthy - "Super Duper Love" - Joss Stone