After having no luck with men at all, Charlie (Lopez) finally
finds her perfect man in Kevin (Vartan). While everything is right with
Kevin he has one major flaw, this overly possessive mother Viola (Fonda).
Now Viola has made it her mission to split the pair up because no one will
be the centre of Kevin's world other than her.
Screen legend Jane Fonda returns to the big screen after a
fifteen-year hiatus but is a Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy the best choice
for her comeback?
When someone like Jane Fonda decides to come back to the silver
screen it is a big deal. The fitness guru and activist, Barbarella herself
is an icon and the good news is that she hasn't lost any of her screen presence.
As recently fired current affairs host Viola Fields, Fonda plays an insecure
mother who has lost her job to a younger model. After a long career meeting
foreign dignitaries and some of the most famous people in the world, retirement
would give her the chance to spend more time with her son, Kevin but even
the best laid plans don't always work out. This is a role that Fonda really
gets her teeth into but she is limited by the restrictions of the script.
The character becomes very one dimensional with only one character trait,
that of a jealous mother who rants all the time about her son marrying someone
who she thinks is beneath him. This is amusing at first but after thirty
minutes it becomes far too samey.
Some may argue that Jennifer Lopez has only ever made one
decent film, 'Out of Sight' but does 'Monster-In-Law' go about changing
this fact? The simple answer is no. While this is a more appealing J-Lo,
as her character is nice and not as overly demanding as you might have expected
her to be, the lack of character development for the role makes Charlie
nothing more than just appealing and beautiful. The filmmakers do try to
make her more interesting by making her a jack-ette of all trades who does
numerous jobs to get by, but they never let her get past the fact that she
is just nice.
The support is OK. Wanda Sykes provides most of the laughs
and one-liners as Viola's personal assistant Ruby. This is a good character
for the comedic actress to play as it really makes the most of her comedy
talents. Michael Vartan doesn't really have a lot to do as Kevin and the
role doesn't really showcase his acting skill that are so prominent in his
TV show 'Alias'. The brilliant Will Arnett is criminally underused as Kit,
Kevin's best friends but he does steal every scene he is in with his astounding
'Monster-In-Law' is an average date movie that is limited
by having only one running joke. The cast deserve so much more than this
script, with Jane Fonda's return warranting a much better role than the
one she has been given.