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=== FILM ONLY ===
=== The plot ===
Charlotte 'Charlie' Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) meets the man of her dreams, Dr. Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan) and things quickly progress. Before the film even really starts Charlie & Kevin are getting married and then we meet his mother, Viola Fields (Jane Fonda) who will stop at nothing to prevent her son from getting married and to make him realise that Charlie is not good enough for him. This film shows the lengths that a mother will go to if she feels that someone is wrong for her child, with comic results!
=== The cast ===
Charlotte 'Charlie' Cantilini - Jennifer Lopez
Viola Fields - Jane Fonda
Dr. Kevin Fields - Michael Vartan
Ruby - Wanda Sykes
Remy - Adam Scott
Fiona - Monet Mazur
Morgan - Annie Parisse
Some of the cast, Lopez and Fonda, were quite familiar to me but others I was not aware of at all. I felt that the cast in this film was fantastic and there was brilliant chemistry between the three main characters. I really felt like Charlie & Kevin were in love and that Viola hated Charlie and wanted her to have nothing more to do with her son, this continued well throughout the film and each of the scenes felt well delivered and acted perfectly.
=== Where can I buy this and for how much? ===
This can be purchased, second hand, from numerous places like eBay and Amazon, or alternatively you can purchase this, brand new, for £3.99 from Amazon.co.uk (price correct August 2011). This is a very reasonable price for a film that I've watched 3 or 4 times since I purchased it about 2 years ago.
=== My overall opinion ===
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. As I mentioned above I felt that the cast worked very well together. There was a real chemistry between them and each of the scenes was acted out incredibly well. My particular favourite member of the cast was probably Wanda Sykes who played Ruby. I felt that her character was very naughty and got away with it a lot, she appeared to have lots of fun throughout the film and I loved the way that she talked which just seemed a little over the top and very funny.
I really enjoyed the plot of this film. It was quite original and I can't really think of another film that is the same as this. It was well thought out from beginning to end and while it felt a little bit predictable towards the end it still managed to keep me laughing right up until the end of the final scene. There were some fantastic moments in the plot and some brilliant one liners which lifted the story line immensely and kept everything feeling fresh and funny.
I really enjoyed this film and I can't really think of anything bad to say about it. The plot was well thought out and there were some really devious moments in the film as well as a few almost tear jerking moments also. I could sympathise with the characters which is always a sign of a well acted & thought out film in my opinion.
I would firmly recommend this film if you are looking for something a little bit light hearted, even my husband has watched this with me on one occasion and he managed to sit through the whole thing which is saying something for a film he considers for 'chicks'.
This is 'Monster in Law' which came out back in 2005 starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. I got given this film by a friend, I'd wanted to see it anyway because I thought the trailers looked funny. Its definitely a comedy/chick flick.
I think the title basically says what this film is about. But if you dont understand Ill explain. This is about Charlie (played by Lopez) who meets a man. And he's perfect for her and they fall straight in love, its goign great until she has to meet the monster... i mean, mother (Viola, played by Fonda). This is a really funny film. A must see! If you like comedys then you'll love this.
Jane Fonda is great in this film. She really is a monster. Doing things that really go 'too far' including poisening Charlie with nuts which she is allergic to. Jennifer Lopez is also great especially considering she is mainly know for her singing career. This isnt a boring film as there is always something happening. Its an exciting film. Its a definate laugh!!
I have seen it only about 2 times but wouldnt say no to watching it again with some girl friends. Its a mood lifter. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a funny film.
Chick flicks really are hit or miss with me, I'm afraid. I rarely sit down to watch one I find I'm not sure whether I enjoyed it or not, at least that's how I've been feeling of late. I borrowed this, quite interestingly, from my mother-in-law, not realising what it was about until I had actually looked at the box. Guiltily, I looked at her and muttered something about it not having any relevance.
My wife and I settled down to watch this the other week, and were pleasantly surprised. It stars Jennifer Lopez as a very much working class woman with multiple jobs who comes across and falls in love with Kevin (Michael Vartan). Lopez's character, Charlie, doesn't know what's in store for her, though, as she finds out that Kevin's mother is none other than high flying chat show host Viola. Not only is she possessive of Kevin, but she is also known as a bit of a battleaxe, and has recently had a breakdown on national TV. Sparks will fly.
The main part of this film is spent with the preparations for Kevin and Charlie's wedding, as is the natural course of a successful relationship. The entertainment comes in the form of Viola as she does everything she can to scupper their plans and ruin their wedding - Charlie is just not good enough for her darling Kevin! Jane Fonda takes on the role of Viola, and completely steals the entire show away from Lopez and Vartan. She is excellent as the overbearing mother, and it's the little tricks she plays that keeps you guessing as a viewer. Lopez and Vartan, though, seem to recognise that Fonda has control, and relinquish it quite easily.
The plot is very basic, but then you wouldn't want anything too complicated to come into play. The comedy element is definitely at the fore of the events, and even though some of the things the two women do to try and get the upper hand are quite malicious, it never really comes across as such on screen, as the sitcom feel of the film is always the dominant element. Director Robert Luketic cleverly seems to recognise that this is a good chick flick but not an Oscar winner, and so just makes sure that things are done within the realistic confines of the film's genre and plot. The filming is done very well using bright colours in some scenes, and some good indoor lighting to affect the mood of each scene as necessary. I enjoyed this element of the film - subtle yet effective.
So would I recommend it? Yes. I can't say it's going to be the best thing to watch if you're about to get married, or if your mother-in-law asks for a suggestion for something to watch, but as an easy to watch film that you can switch off to while watching, it's worth a go. Not something I'd necessarily buy, but if it's on TV, then give it a go. Recommended.
Released in 2005 and directed by Robert Luketic, Monster in Law marked the return of Jane Fonda to film after 15 years away. It is the story of a free spirited young woman who gets together with a doctor only to discover his mother is a nightmare because no-one will ever be good enough for her son.
The idea is fairly unoriginal and has been quite overexposed recently with films such as Meet the Parents and American Pie: The Wedding, but then lots of films in the Romantic Comedy genre have similar plotlines and that doesn't mean they have to be awful.
I found the leading characters a little dull and so stupid it was unbelievable. Charlie and Kevin haven't long been together but whilst meeting his mother for the first time he proposes and then wonders why his mother nearly has a seizure. I just think this is unbelievable, even though his mother Viola turns out to be a bit wacky; most parents would be shocked at a proposal the first time they met your partner.
It's difficult to sympathise with Charlie's situation because her personality seems to change depending on the scene she is in. At the beginning she is free spirited and wouldn't hurt a fly but then she becomes obsessive and hurtful just because of her boyfriends mother. It becomes difficult to want her to come out on top because you never really know who she is.
It's difficult to care for Kevin too; he seems totally oblivious for most of the film and even when certain things are brought to his attention he does little to resolve the situation, instead choosing to ignore it. This does little to encourage the audience to want a happy ending for him, instead wondering if Charlie should leave and find someone else, not settle down with Mr Wrong.
I actually ended up rooting for Viola more than Charlie, at least she knew what her principles were and stuck to them, however deluded. After a good talking to by her assistant Ruby she does start to become more rational whereas Charlie starts to seem a little bit too caught up in hurting her fiancés mother.
Most of the humour in this film comes from cheap laughs and not clever humour. The mentality of Charlie has a peanut allergy so let's fill her up before the wedding so she swells up like a balloon comes straight from an American college type movie script which is sad. The storyline could have lent itself to a really clever script but instead the writer has just gone for obvious titbits.
There are some funny moments though, my favourite being when over the hill Viola is told she is being replaced for a younger model on her talk show. She decides to humiliate her guest, instead humiliating herself but because these actions are more believable of her character they are funnier.
I definitely think Jane Fonda has sold herself short here; she's well known for her past comedy roles and this film does nothing to enhance her CV. Although Viola was more believable in terms of her personality than the others, I don't think the actress was given a good enough script to bring her funny side across. Many of the jokes were just lame, stating the obvious and therefore boring.
Jennifer Lopez seems to have become a leading lady in the world of RomComs, something I think she pulls off fairly well in other films. The problem here is that this isn't really a romantic comedy because the films focus isn't the relationship between her and her partner it's about her and the mother in law and she just doesn't seem to get this right. Although the script is largely to blame, Lopez seems weak when working opposite Fonda and her girl next door cuteness doesn't make up for the fact that she puts in a second rate performance here.
Michael Vartan is okay as Kevin but his screen time is limited and he accepts that he is the tertiary character in the film and settles into the background, not making any effort to give a strong performance. Wanda Sykes starts of by bringing a bit of pizzazz to proceedings as Violas assistant Ruby, but after a promising start her scathing attacks just become harsh instead of witty and end up being personal attacks which just isn't funny.
Lopez and Vartan did manage to create some on screen chemistry between their two characters but it's a shame they only work together for the first fifteen minutes or so because the rest of the film is devoted to the Lopez / Fonda showdown which isn't its strong point.
Overall this is disappointing; the story wasn't particularly original, the acting was mediocre and the jokes are too obvious to be funny. I definitely won't be recommending Monster in Law but if you feel the need to watch a second rate film it can be purchased on Amazon for £4.99 with free delivery and is a certificate 12.
Running time: 97mins, Director: Robert Luketic, Released: 2005, Starring : Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan, Wanda Sykes and Adam Scott
This film has to be in my top list of greatest films, simply for the fact that it is hilarious. I first saw this film on TV and I was almost not going to watch it as I didn't think that I was going to like it. But I am very glad that I didn't, as this film is hardly out of my DVD player.
Charlie Cantilini, (Jennifer Lopez) meets the man of her dreams, surgeon Kevin (Michael Kartan) and falls in love with him. Meanwhile Kevin's mother, TV star Viola (played by Jane Fonda) has just been replaced by a younger girl on her talk show. Seeing that the new young girl knows nothing and angry about her replacement, she has a nervous breakdown. Then finding out her only son, who she worships, is getting married pushes her over the edge. At the thought of losing her son to Charlie, she plans to make Charlie's life Hell and ruin her and Kevin's relationship.
No matter how many times I watch it, I always end up crying with laughter. I absolutely love the characters and actors in this movie and all give brilliant performances. I especially like the character Ruby (Wanda Sykes), who is Viola's assistant, along side Fonda the pair are hilarious and brilliant in this film. I think that the main reason why I like this film so much is that it is has an equal balance of romance and comical moments in it. In my opinion, the perfect movie.
Monster in Law is a reasonable comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda. It was made in 2005 and is available on Amazon.com for £4.99 although you can also buy it a lot cheaper via Marketplace or watch it on satellite television.
Whats it about:
Basically in a nutshell its a screwball comedy about the girlfriend and mother of a man who both want to be the most important person in his life. Charlie (Jennifer Lopez) is a woman who feels she will never find love until she meets Kevin (Michael Vartan), they fall in love and Kevin proposes, however at this point Charlie meets her future Mother-In-Law Viola (Jane Fonda), a successful writer and professional dragon.
Viola is determined to stop the wedding going ahead and her battles with Charlie make up the main part of the film as these two women fight over who is really the most important person in Kevin's life.
Jennifer Lopez ... Charlotte 'Charlie' Cantilini
Jane Fonda ... Viola Fields
Michael Vartan ... Dr. Kevin Fields
Wanda Sykes ... Ruby
Adam Scott ... Remy
Monet Mazur ... Fiona
Annie Parisse ... Morgan
Will Arnett ... Kit
Elaine Stritch ... Gertrude
Stephen Dunham ... Dr. Paul Chamberlain
Randee Heller ... Beverly Hills Dog Owner
Mark Moses ... Coffee Shop Customer
Tomiko Fraser ... Coffee Shop Clerk
Rochelle Flexer ... Dr. Patel's Nurse
Wayne Nickel ... George
What is it like:
Its actually a fairly good film, Lopez plays the wide eyed girl who has to contend with this mother in law from hell, she seems to enjoy herself in the role and her sparring with Fonda is good fun with lots of slaps and underhand tricks from both parties.
Fonda is really good as the horrible mother in law, she revels in being sneaky, horrible and cutting in every sense, her chats with her assistant (The hilarious Wanda Sykes) are one of the highlights of the film.
Overall I enjoyed the film because of the two main characters and their constant sparring, i'd never seen the actor who plays Kevin before and being honest his part in the film is fairly small it is all about Lopez, Fonda and the wise cracking Sykes.
The film is a bit cheesy at times and some of the jokes are a bit overstretched, but the leads throw themselves into the action with gusto and really seem to enjoy it, Fonda is happy to make jokes about her plastic surgery whilst Lopez seems happy to get her hands dirty and not play the princess.
Its a funny film with some laugh out loud moments, it can be watched by the whole family and is a pretty decent example of how not to start family life, but the end is enjoyable and settles things fairly well.
The dvd includes:
Feature Length Commentary
Ruby's Make Up Bag
This film was relatively disappointing to me in terms of acting. I have watched Jane Fonda and Jenifer Lopez in previous performances and both had struck me as really talented, dedicated actresses. I have no idea how, but while Monster-in-Law is a plot with some serious potential, the performances were quite average and watery. It was even more disappointing because it was a film with a great plot, but whose potential doesn't seem to have been developed enough. Having said that, I can't deny that as watery as the acting was, the movie did provide me with a couple of laughs and entertainment, all thanks to the storyline and its rather humorous aspect of it. It definitely is one that every girl with a mother-in-law should watch- I know for sure that my own mum loved the film!
Charlie is a typical girl-next-door. She cheerfully enjoys various temporary jobs, and hanging out with her friends. One day, she meets wealthy surgeon Kevin Fields- they fall in love, go out and finally moves in together. Kevin decides to bring Charlie home to meet his mother, Viola Fields: a former television star that has just been replaced by someone younger. When Kevin proposes to Charlie in front of his mother, Viola takes an instant, albeit irrational dislike to Charlie, and fueled by jealousy and insecurity over the young woman, she starts planning on how to make Charlie's life as miserable as she can...
As previously mentioned, the acting was not up to the actresses' usual standards. If I had to rate their performances, I would have given them about four-five over ten. Both Lopez and Fonda seemed to deliver their lines with all the wrong expressions, and that particularly applies to Jennifer Lopez. Having seen her in previous movies, I was truly expecting more of her. But she was only slightly more than a robotic appearance who delivered lines learned by heart all through the film. Jane Fonda was slightly better, however. Her Drama Queen act was priceless- she was the one who really got me laughing at some points. Fonda's melodrama, distraught mother in need of attention was the best parts of the film, but however, she really didn't seem to fit in with the more serious scenes. In fact, these were the scenes that seemed highly artificial and rather fake, in my opinion.
Still, I would say that the strong chemistry between Jane Fonda and Jenifer Lopez, fueled by the rather powerful screen presence and charisma of these two actresses really made up for shortcomings in their acting. Despite their poor performances, the scenes that the two of them shared really make you understand why these are among the greatest names in Hollywood. I have rarely seen such chemistry before- even if they were enemies in the movie. They really seem perfect to enact such an electric mother and daughter-in-law couple. I particularly loved the bits where they were both pretending to love each other and you could see the distain written all over their faces- priceless!!
I will still rate this film four stars, because despite the shortcomings, I feel really guilty over rating it less than four after having laughed so much. Like I said before, the plot had some great potential and could really have been developed more. But I instead felt like they spent way too much time on irrelevant details, and cut the good bits too short. For instance, the movie opens on Charlie's life, and they spend like one quarter of the movie depicting Charlie's life pro-Kevin. Which, in my opinion, was rather exaggerated and dragged the movie on. Had they cut back on such scenes, and replaced them by more mother-in-law/daughter-in-law scenes, it truly would have been a priceless film. The whole movie was in fact, rather plot-driven especially with the disappointing performances.
Jennifer Lopez as Charlie
Jane Fonda as Viola Fields
Michael Vartan as Kevin Rields
Wanda Sykes as Ruby
Adam Scott as Remy
Money Mazur as Fiona
Annie Parisse as Morgan
Stephen Dunham as Dr Paul Chamberlain
DVD Extras include:
Overall, this is a recommended, quirky film- not the most original one ever, but one that that will provide you with a good laugh. Don't expect too much of the plot and the acting though!
Thanks for reading!
I have had this film now for a while and decided to watch it for the second time last night. Monster-in-Law was released in May 2005 and directed by Robert Luketic.
Charlie (Lopez) is a hard working temp who thinks she will never find the man of her dreams. Her time is taken up by her work; walking dogs, waitressing and working in the reception at the Doctors surgery. One day whilst walking the dogs she sees Kevin (Vartan) running on the beach. She sees him three times in a matter of days and sees this as a sign. However, whilst waitressing at a party he is at she is told by a female friend of his that he is guy so when he calls her she decides not to return his call. Kevin is relentless and continues to pursue Charlie until she agrees to go out with him.
Everything is going well until Kevin takes Charlie to meet his overly possessive mother, Viola. Viola is not happy about her only sons new relationship and sets out to destroy it by becoming the worlds worst mother-in-law. With the aid of her loyal, wise cracking assistant, Ruby (Sykes) she sets out to scare off her sons new fiancee. Charlie soon realises what Viola is up to and decides to play her at her own game. Let the battle of wits commence.
Jennifer Lopez plays Charlie and although her acting skills aren't great she does play the part quite well. The chemistry between each character is great and it makes for quite a good film.
Michael Vartan plays Dr Kevin Fields and as always does a good job. Hes handsome and charming and plays these kind of roles really well. I think this is probably the only type of role I'm used to seeing him in and it works i his favour.
Jane Fonda plays the scheming mother-in-law Viola. This role was perfect for Jane Fonda, from the pretense of being nice to Charlie down to the fake laugh she seemed to use a lot throughout the film. She played the role of a women close to a psychotic break nicely.
My favourite character in this film has to be Ruby played by Wanda Sykes. All throughout the film she comes out with some hilarious one liners which matches her wise cracking character to a tee. For me Ruby's character is what makes the film that much more watchable. The humour from her adds that little bit extra to the film and keeps you interested all the way through it. And the relationship between her and Viola is excellent, the scenes with the both of them in it are hysterical.
Charlie (Jennifer Lopez)
Kevin (Michael Vartan)
Viola (Jane Fonda)
Ruby (Wanda Sykes)
Remy (Adam Scott)
Fiona (Monet Mazur)
Morgan (Annie Parisse)
Kit (Will Arnett)
This film is a typical chick flick and you can guess whats going to happen but like I said the comedy aspect of it is what makes the film and turns it into an acceptable rom-com.
The Special features include feature length commentary, deleted scenes, Ruby's make up bag, soundtrack, gag reel & theatrical trailer. I have only watched the gag reel because they are usually quite funny although I didnt think this one was funny at all.
All in all I enjoyed the film and will watch it again mainly because I thought a lot of it was quite funny.
Certificate 12 contain moderate language and sex references.
Run Time 97 minutes.
The DVD can be bought from Amazon for £3.98 & £3.99 from play.com.
Charlotte Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) finds Mr right, Dr Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan) and their love blossoms until they are engaged. However this perfect package comes with one very scary attachment, Michaels mother Viola (Jane Fonda). Viola resents there being another woman in her son's life and begins to plot against Charlottes o that soon an all out war begins.
This film has a host of over the top acting and drama. The dramatic moments become melodramatic and the facial reactions both and have remind me of really bad slapstick. That said Michael Vartan stands aside and composed, the picture of a man who has long learnt to deal with being amongst high-strung, overbearing women whilst shining a sense of normality in his corner.
This film tries far too hard to be funny; there are no gentle lines or clever puns, simply huge neon signs saying 'We've just put something ridiculous on the screen, please laugh now'.
Fonda's character goes from appearing weak and pathetic to strong and vicious, then again goes for the sympathy vote. There is no believability to this movie, even moments which should be romantic lack honesty and that 'awww' factor.
In essence, a bit of a waste of time.
Ok so i must say i was really disappointed with this film, considering the cast i thought it would have been an enjoyable, fun and entertaining film to watch. It wasn't that i didn't enjoy it just wasn't as good as i expected it to be. The plot is nothing special, a little exaggerated and unoriginal. It wasn't funny or witty enough and you just don't take the film seriously enough.
The basic plot is about how the mother doesn't like her potential daughter in law as she feels the fiancee is not good enough for her son. So being a comedy, and i'm using that word very loosely, there lots of outrageous ploys to try and split the happy couple apart.
The acting isn't bad but it's not great either. Over all every aspect of this film is just mediocre. If you're looking for a good laugh or a cute film then keep looking because unless you're stuck for something to do this film is not worth watching.
Charlie is a hard working girl, she works as a temp and is also a dog walker, in her spare time she likes to design clothes. She always dreams of meeting her perfect man and one day she does. She is out walking dogs on the beach when she sees him. Charlie again sees him at other times and finally when she is a waitress for her friend she manages to get to talk to him as he is the host of the party.
Kevin is the man Charlie has been seeing and he is a Doctor. The couple are in enjoying spending their time together until Kevin's mother returns. Viola is his mother and she has been away at a retreat after she went crazy due to being sacked from her chat show. She was sent away to learn to control her anger. Viola is in for a shock when Kevin proposes to Charlie and she turns to her assistant Ruby for help.
Will Viola be able to control her temper or will she manage to succeed in getting rid of Charlie. Will Charlie find out just what Viola is up to and will she fever marry the man of her dreams?
I went into this film expecting good things as from what I remembered from the trailers and the clips which I had seen when this was on the TV it did look very good. I can say that the film did not let me down. I thought that Jennifer Lopez took the role of Charlie extremely well and I did enjoy her character. She played the part of the quiet hard working girl well and I felt she did put a lot into this. Jane Fonda took the role of Viola and she was brilliant. She managed to have me feeling a whole mountain of emotions, she would one minute do something crazy and have me laughing out loud and the next she made me feel so sorry for her. She really did work well with Lopez and they managed to work off each other to give the film some very funny bits.
The role of Ruby, Viola's assistant was excellent as it gave the film a little depth and I enjoyed how she would stand up to her boss and not be a complete push over! For me she was one of the best characters in the film, she was not seen all of the time but when she was she did make the film. Kevin was played by Michael Vartin and I thought he too did a good job, he was especially easy on the eye! He worked well with Lopez and Fonda and I thought the chemistry between him and the others was good.
The storyline is one which most women dread when meeting their future mother in laws, I know I certainly did. I have to say despite my mother in law not being the best she certainly is not this bad. I thought the way the story was brought to the screen was excellent and it could quite easily be real and I bet a lot of brides have to deal with this sort of thing, though maybe not on this level but certainly close. The humour in the film did vary and it would be from some silly little spoken joke or line to an al out comedy scene, I found all of the jokes and laughs fitted very well into the film and I am glad they made this a comedy as I think it would have be a very bland film without it.
The film was set in the present time of America so not much time or effort was needed for the costumes and settings. I found them all to be very good and fitted very well into the film. The music throughout the film was great and I did enjoy listening to all of it. I found it all to be very appropriate for the places which it was used.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus material which includes:-
Feature Length Commentary
Ruby's Make Up Bag
I am not a fan of bonus material so have not watched any of these so I am not able to give comment on them.
The running time of this film is 97 minutes which I found to be a great length and the certificate is a 12 as there is some moderate language and sex references. I personally feel the rating is slight too high and think children of around the 13 year old mark really would enjoy this film.
I managed to pick this DVD up for just £3 in Tesco and I am please with what I paid. If you are not willing to pay then do watched out for it to appear on the TV again soon as it has been on several times in the past.
Overall I am definitely going to recommend this film as it has some wonderful acting and some extremely funny moments.
I first saw Monster-In-Law at the cinema, mostly because I was curious as to what Jennifer Lopez would be like in this kind of film and because the trailers looked quite funny. It's pretty clear from the ads, even from the title, what the movie is about, so when I went to see it I was fairly sure of what to expect.
Jennifer Lopez plays Charlie, who goes on the hunt for true love, finds Mr. Right and says "yes" to marriage. She thinks everything will be perfect until she discovers what she may be marrying into; with the mother-in-law from hell. Whilst she makes every effort to get on with Viola, her mother-in-law to be does everything she can to jeopardise Charlie's relationship with Kevin, and stop her from going through with the wedding.
I'm sure this is not an original storyline by far, although off the top of my head I can only think of films where it is the child of the person getting married who is jealous or trying to stop the wedding. Although unoriginal, I think some pretty good films have been made using this line, and it is really the detail that matters. I often recognise these storylines as being either over-emotive dramas or comedies. This one obviously fits the latter better, but even there it is hard to tell whether this film is really aimed at children, or is a romantic comedy gone wrong. I would think it was intended to be a romantic comedy, but then the type of slapstick humour and the actual things said and done in the film seem a bit too childish. When you get into the detail of the plot and see how everything turns out for Charlie, frankly, it is just a weird film, that cannot decide what it really is.
Well, as I said, when I saw the trailers the film looked quite funny. The trouble with trailers is that they have a tendency to pick out all the best parts of the film and plonk them together. This makes the film look amazing. Most films I've seen in recent years have turned out to be a disappointment to me because I realise that I have just paid out £5-10 to see the dull cementing that brings together those bits. I often enjoy trailers enough to think the first 15 minutes in the cinema are my money's worth anyway! With this film I have to admit that overall it was not as funny as I had expected, and that the humour that was there was mostly very childish. For younger audiences, this is probably fine. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more as a 12 year old even, than now when I keep thinking "now, come on, that's just silly". One of the funniest scenes for me was only really funny because it reminded me of Pat and Peggy in Eastenders.
Jennifer Lopez is by no means brilliant in this film, and she also has an air of confidence that frankly, does not fit in this film. I think Charlie is meant to be naive, somewhat shy initially but going stronger as the film develops. Lopez clearly tries to put this image across, but, whether due to her good looks and popularity or the fact that acting is not really her strength, it just doesn't work. We often feel a kind of pleasantness from people who are positive, outgoing and friendly, which I think Lopez is, but sadly that does not excuse a lack of substance for me. For those who just want to sit back and enjoy the film without caring much about what happens it might be alright.
Jane Fonda's character is not particularly outstanding either. Her acting reminds me more of children's films - that are great, when you are a child, anyway. She is portrayed as someone who is just a little bit too crazy. Whilst Charlie is made to look like an absolute angel who could never hurt a fly, whereas she is jealous to the point that it drives her to do horrible things. Her character, and the way she plays it is, through most of the film, just too much of a villain. Putting the two together is like seeing people in black and white. Granted, she starts to show some humanity later on in the film, but even then I was disappointed because it did not flow, and seemed out of character and unconvincing.
Michael Vartan plays Kevin, Charlie's hubby to be. He is not really a key role in the film, despite being the object of the whole story. I expected his character to be very nice-nice and actually quite bland, and he was. He could have developed the character more to show how torn he was between mother and fiancé, but I suppose this may have brought too much drama into the film, and taken away the light-hearted edge that he had.
Consequently, the friends of Charlie, plus a girl that tries to flirt with Kevin are all given minor roles, and made to look as simple as possible. (No offence intended to them!!)
I don't know really whether most areas of America look like holiday resorts, but certainly much of this film appeared to be set in heavenly surroundings. Although Charlie is portrayed as lacking in wealth, she manages to always pull of that well made-up look that Lopez has, even though her clothes are not exactly meant to be designer. Viola's house is huge, and she is much better matched to the circumstances of her character.
The music and sound effects used within the film are another reason I thought it was really something for younger audiences. Whilst it is fun and lively, and has similar music to most romantic comedies, it is nothing new or particularly appealing, and most of it is hardly memorable after the film.
As I have said that the humour in this film is best suited to younger audiences, I would prefer that the rating be fairly low. But this film falls into a difficult area here, because, although sparse, there is enough strong language for me to think that most people would not want young teens and kids watching it (okay, maybe not that strong). This is a real shame, as I think they would really like something like this, and really there are ways of making a film good without any swearing whatsoever. Other than the swearing, I don't think there is anything to stop it being rated U/PG. Hence the rating, which is at 12, is probably quite appropriate.
It's not that I didn't enjoy this film, because I did, and I did like most of the characters. It's just that it lacked that special thing I have come to expect from anything on the big screen. If you see it on telly and there is nothing else that you will be missing on the other side, I think you might like to give it a go. Just don't put it on with high expectations for a really good film, because you will be disappointed. To sum it up, this film is either a kids film that needs to be toned down, or a romatic comedy in a desperate state. Fun, it is, but yet it brings nothing new.
I am not a big fan of Jennifer Lopez generally, especially as an actress. I have had the misfortune to sit through The Wedding Planner and I have tried to watch Maid in Manhattan, but can rarely get past the first 20 minutes. I saw the trailers for Monster in Law when it was first released in 2005, and thought it looked OK, but the fact Jennifer Lopez was in it, was reason enough for me not to spend any money on going to see it. However, when I noticed it was being shown on Film Four I decided to give it a chance.
Charlie Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) works as a temp doing several different jobs, from dog walker to caterer to receptionist. She hasn't had a relationship in a long time, but when she keeps bumping into a doctor, Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan) she thinks it must be fate. They eventually start dating and the relationship gets serious pretty quickly.
Elsewhere, Michael's mother, is shocked to learn that she is being replaced in her job as a successful TV talk show host by a younger woman. She flips out and ends up attacking one of the guests on her show, which leads to a nervous breakdown and a stay in a psychiatric hospital.
On her release from hospital, Viola's assistant/friend Ruby (Wanda Sykes) tells her that Michael will be coming over the next day, along with his new girlfriend, Charlie. This is the first Viola has head of Charlie, and although she is pretty selfish and doesn't like the idea of her son being in a relationship - she wants all his attention for herself - she figures that as they haven't been a couple for very long the relationship can't be very serious and tries to be nice. In fact she is so nice to Charlie, and the couple get on so well, that Michael decides that this would be the perfect time to propose. To Viola's horror, Charlie accepts, and whilst Viola pretends she is happy in front of Michael, she hatches an evil plan to split them up and ruin the wedding.
~What I thought~
The basic idea of the plot is somewhat similar to Meet the Parents, just less funny! Although predictable, it was still watchable, and an improvement on any other film I have seen Jennifer Lopez star in. There were some funny moments, but as comedy goes, it wasn't great. Obviously this was never meant to be a serious film, but I thought you could pretty much tell what was going to happen from the start, there weren't really any twists and turns, and it was only really Jane Fonda's character that kept me watching until the end.
I thought Jennifer Lopez's acting was a bit uncomfortable to watch -especially at the start of the film, where it seemed that she was trying to make the character a bit cutesy and ditzy where it wasn't really necessary and it made me cringe a bit!
Jane Fonda as Viola definitely stole the show, she played the evil, melodramatic Viola brilliantly, and really made you believe in the character. I must also give a mention to Wanda Sykes as Ruby, who had some great lines, and sometimes just that knowing look on her face is enough to make you laugh!
Running time: 101 minutes
This DVD can be purchased from Amazon for £5.98
I would say that this film is OK, and fine to watch on a rainy evening when you have nothing better to do, and Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes' characters are what make the film. Saying that, I don't think this was so good that I would part with any money for it, and if you're looking for a comedy that will keep you laughing throughout, then this probably isn't it.
**Please note this is a film only review**
Settling down on a Sunday night I began to watch monster in law. It was advertised to me as a quick-witted comedy with Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez leading the film; about everybody's worst nightmare, "their in-laws".
The movie follows the story of an ordinary girl who falls for a guy whose mother is a daytime television hero and absolute control freak! The story centers around the couple planning for their wedding day and the mothers interference in the wedding plans. The film climaxes with the big day itself which proves to be the highlight of the show.
The movies story was original and at first seemed like it was worthwhile the 100minutes. However after 10minutes of Lopez' poor acting style the film began to become boring and irritating. It was only with the introduction of Fonda's character (the 'monster in-law') that the film regained a bit of pace and humor.
In my opinion it was Fonda who was holding the film together and the casting of Lopez was ill advised only providing a 'bit of eye-candy' for the bored boyfriends!
This film is not an award winner by any stretch of the imagination but the ending is excellent with Fonda's character going through the same experience that Lopez endured.
Monster-in-law is an easy film to watch that is suitable for the family (10+).
As I get older, Ive become a lot less interested in watching chick-flicks, but after a demanding week at work, I felt the need to watch something mind-numbing and this seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I was very surprised to find I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. Yes, there were some really cringe-making bits, but on the whole, it was fun to watch with the occasional bit of good acting thrown in for good measure.
Ambitionless Charlie meets and falls in love with surgeon Kevin and they move in with each other a few months into their relationship. Then Kevin suggests lunch with his mother Viola, a well-known TV presenter, who has been in a mental institute recovering from a breakdown. All seems to be going well until Kevin decides to propose to Charlie in front of his mother. Horrified at the idea of her son marrying someone beneath him and jealous that Charlie has replaced her, Viola decides to get rid of Charlie and with the help of her assistant, Ruby, plans a series of mishaps.
These mishaps include making Charlie feel that she doesnt fit in to Kevins grand lifestyle and faking another breakdown so that she is forced to move in with Charlie and Kevin. Then Charlie latches on to what is happening and is determined to not let Viola have her own way.
Jennifer Lopez gives a reasonable performance of the love-struck Charlie. I dont think I could ever describe her as being a good actress, but she does do air-heads realistically and she certainly looks the part. I also appreciate the fact that she has a big bum and doesnt care refreshing in these days of skinny actresses.
Jane Fonda, who plays Viola, gives one of the most noticeable performances. She is not an actress I associate with comedy, but she really did make me laugh during the film. The one thing I didnt like about her performance (although this is more the directors fault than hers) is that I felt she was taking the Mickey out of people with mental health problems even when she was going through a real nervous breakdown, she made it seem funny. As someone whos been through one, there is nothing remotely funny about it and I dont like seeing it portrayed as such. That apart though, I think she did a pretty good job in a film that probably wastes her talents.
Michael Vartan, who plays Kevin, was completely unmemorable. He wasnt supposed to be one of the main characters, but he made his presence felt to the extent that he may as well not have been in the film at all. The only role I have seen him in before is that of the husband in One Hour Photo, another unmemorable role in what was otherwise a good film. I would rather see roles such as this go to actors who have some talent and need a chance to show it. Unfortunately, Michael Vartan has very little talent.
Violas assistant, Ruby, played by Wanda Sykes, provides plenty of laughs. The one-liners in the film are pretty much all down to her, particularly in her reaction to Viola. Her relationship with Viola is enjoyable to watch; she knows all Violas quirks and bad points, but does care deeply for her and as such, will put up with more than most people. This was a good comedy role and she did it well.
Robert Luketic is probably best known for his direction of Legally Blonde probably one of the best chick-flicks to have been made in recent years. In comparison, Monster-in-law doesnt have the same biting irony that I loved so much in Legally Blonde, but for its genre, I still think he did pretty well.
Running time: 101 minutes
I have been quite critical of the actors roles in this film, yet I still really liked the film as a whole. It doesnt pretend to be anything other than a fluffy, feelgood film, but once this has been taken on board, there is little dislikeable about it. Even the bad portrayal of mental health problems was funny, although as mentioned above, I did resent it a little many people are already ignorant about the harm that mental illness can do and this film did not help to allay this in any way.
There were some moments of good acting, mainly on the part of Jane Fonda, but also from Jennifer Lopez and Wanda Sykes. As I hadnt really been expecting good performances, this was a nice surprise.
The plot develops at a good pace, although the first 20 minutes, as Charlie and Kevin meet and fall in lurve, is a little boring. Although if you are the romantic type, you will probably love it.
All I wanted from this film was a laugh and some escapism and I certainly got that. I rented the film and certainly wont be rushing to buy it or even see it again, but I will remember it fondly. For the pleasure it gave me, I think it deserves four stars. Recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £7.49.