Jennifer Lopez clearly isn’t used to being upstaged by anyone. The infamously diva-like behavior she’s known for, however, won’t save her from being upstaged by virtually everyone in her romantic comedy Monster in Law.
Jane Fonda sparkles wickedly as Viola, a former national news anchor whose accomplished son Kevin (Michael Vartan) has chosen to marry someone Viola sees as the wrong girl at the wrong time (Charlie, played by Lopez).
How dare she try and snag her physician son. Her good looking, upscale, kind, giving, perfect son. She’s not good enough, says Viola. She’s not smart enough, accomplished enough, or wealthy enough. Viola puts on a show of self aware conceit to beat all.
So the claws come out. Viola enlists her personal assistant in the battle, Ruby (Wanda Sykes).
Sykes is punchy fun, and if Fonda’s crazy mean turn as Viola hadn’t already upstaged the bland performance of Lopez, Sykes would have. Together, they edge out the boring/too nice character of Charlie.
Charlie, it seems, is the nicest of the nice girls. She has an endearing potpourri of jobs and interests (dog walking, secretary work, designing). And she looks forward to marriage; because then she will have the mother she has never had.
Let me tell you something about this movie: it’s popular. To my surprise, it edged out Will Farrell’s family friendly soccer dad tale Kicking and Screaming for the number one box office spot over the weekend. So somebody likes it. Or wants to like it.
We’ll see how long this one stays at number one with the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith on its heels.
I didn’t particularly like or dislike it. Monster in Law’s director, Robert Luketic, directed one of my favorite movies of all time, Legally Blonde. And some of his characteristic razor-sharp comic timing comes through in Monster in Law. A scene where Lopez reacts with a choice profanity to Viola throwing a bridesmaid’s dress out the window of a moving car had me in stitches.
And as the movie rolls into its middle segment, and Viola and Charlie’s battle deepens into a nasty cat fight, it gets really juicy.
Too bad the action isn’t as murderously enthralling throughout.
Currently playing. Rated PG-13 for sexual references and language.
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes