Published May 01, 2005Channelling the immense method acting technique she displayed in such greats as Maid in Manhattan and The Wedding Planner, Jennifer Lopez almost destroys Monster-In-Law. Her drab line readings and repetitive facial expressions are enough to drive even Marc Anthony mad. But somehow the much-hyped comeback of one Jane Fonda manages to save the film. If it wasn't for Ms. Fonda's absolutely killer performance that all but annihilates Lopez, and everyone else, Monster-In-Law would be as good as The Wedding Planner 2. Fonda steals every second of screen time she has and manages to make what could have been a mediocre film an absolute blast.
Lopez plays Charlie, a temp who falls for the supposedly dreamy Kevin (Alias' Michael Vartan, who is essentially a background prop). As their romance builds, Monster-In-Law plays like a dreadful romantic comedy. But enter Fonda as Viola, Kevin's mother. Recently fired from her long-running stint as a famed talk show host and fresh out of rehab, Viola is not in the mood to hear that Kevin and Charlie are engaged. She spends the better half of the film attempting to sabotage their courtship, which gives Fonda a chance to display comedic talents many didn't think she had in her.
Monster-In-Law benefits from its fun premise and manages to rise above most of the films similar to it with some great one-liners and wonderfully orchestrated physical comedy. One wonders if it could have benefited from an actual actress playing Viola's nemesis, but at least with Lopez, Fonda gets every opportunity to shine. Her first film in over 15 years, somehow the comeback hype was worth it and Monster-In-Law might just be the Hollywood comedy of the summer. (Alliance Atlantis)