Thursday, May 19, 2005

Monster-in-Law: The return of Jane Fonda

You'd never know Monster-in-Law was supposed to be a comedy.

It certainly incorporates elements of your worst nightmare: "She met the perfect man. Then she met his mother." That's certainly a sphincter-tightening thought.

However, nobody in this movie, except for Wanda Sykes (who plays Fonda's assistant, Ruby) knows how to deliver a comic line. The odd fact that Ruby has the best lines shows, I think, that even the writers didn't know they were trying for screwball comedy.

But you know this is Jane Fonda's movie. It takes her a bit to get into the movie -- and my friend kept saying, "Where's Jane?" when she'd wake up from moments of deep slumber -- but we understand that boy and girl have to meet before an entity such as the mother and future mom-in-law come into play. You understand why Jennifer Lopez and Michael Vartan are attracted to each other. They're both gorgeous, with reservations (mine). Why does a successful physician always have a 5-o'clock shadow, the length of which never changes? And why does J-Lo look so plain in this movie? I understand they were going for "simple" and "from-the-neighborhood," but, my God, is this the same gorgeous actress I saw in "Shall We Dance"? When Jane comes onto the screen, you're hoping for a little movie magic at that point, and you get it. She looks like she's aged a bit since Klute -- well, duhhh -- but she has attitude, a sexy walk, and clothes to match. She's still got "it."

Except for the comic timing. There aren't very many funny parts in this movie, and because the boy-meets-girl, boy-almost-loses-girl-if-he-even-had-a-clue, boy-gets-girl moments don't sustain the entire movie, the rest is, unfortunately, a bore.

Thumb's down for the Fonda comeback.


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