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:: Monster-in-Law

There looked to be plenty of potential here for a terrific comedy feature. The viewer is immediately drawn into a romance between Charlie Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) and her perfect man, Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan). There is a lack of chemistry but that is quite insignificant really, as this is not a romantic comedy. Kevin thinks their relationship is serious enough to bring Charlie home to meet his mother Viola Fields (Jane Fonda), and announce the engagement.

The story is then shaped, unusually, on the fact that Viola takes an instant disliking to Charlie. Viola has had a recent nervous breakdown. It seems her only loves these days are her son and any bottle of vodka. Maybe she believes that no woman is good enough for her son. It's a strange piece of writing.

However, it's interesting to observe Lopez and Fonda together. Fonda has been away from the screens for over ten years and this role acknowledges her age and gives her a series of contexts in which to dress up and look stylish.

Most of the film consists of scenes between the two female stars. In a way, they are forced to behave in ways that contradict human decency. The film turns into a series of gags and games between the two. Viola tries hard to sabotage the impending marriage. The two ladies embody a certain strength but, although there are some genuine humorous moments in their quest for Kevin's ownership, it doesn't say much for valuing the dynamics of such relationships and of middle-aged women.

One of the really funny characters is Viola's personal assistant Ruby (Wanda Sykes). In amongst the bickering between Charlie and Viola, she injects some spark in delivering her lines with fresh sarcasm.

Because Lopez and Fonda aren't natural comediennes, it dilutes the script, somewhat. Lopez shouldn't be wearing pigtails at this stage of her career and Fonda is not seen as the once powerful screen presence. The moments of hilarious nastiness is outweighed by the safe, fluffy nature of the direction.

Somewhere in the glimpse of what is seen could have been a delicious comedy. Unfortunately, the filmmakers haven't delivered enough entertainment and the ending is disappointing in its unlikely occurrence. One wonders whether this will follow the line of “Meet The Parents/Meet The Fockers”.