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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Movie Review:Monster-In-Law

Premise:A clingy, overbearing mother goes to war against her future daughter-in-law

Cast:
Jane Fonda as Viola Fields, Jennifer Lopez as Charlie, Michael Vartan as Kevin, Wanda Sykes as Ruby, Monet Mazur as Fiona, Adam Scott as Remy, Annie Parisse as Morgan, Stephen Dunham as Dr. Chamberlain, Will Arnett as Kit, Elaine Stritch as Gertrude

Director:
Robert Luketic

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sex references and language

Genres:
Comedy, romance

Notes:
Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:
Viola and her assistant, Ruby. The mom vs. girlfriend thing. Charlie's friends. The music.

Cons:
The romance sucks. The ending. A few annoying characters.


Sometimes, you don't get off on the right foot with your in-laws. Sometimes, you don't see eye to eye with them. Sometimes they want to kill you. And sometimes, the feeling goes both ways.

Viola, the scheming lady I was actually kind of rooting for, and Ruby, her snarky assistant are both good for the movie. Charlie's friends were also entertaining. Something about Charlie herself put me off, though. Maybe it's she is made out to be this hard-working girl we're supposed to love. Kevin is the same way, and he's oblivious to what his mom is doing. And his ex-girlfriend I wanted to embarrass, though she wasn't intended to be likable.

The romance itself is typical Hollywood trash. Someone sees this guy a couple times and assumes they're meant to be. And he proposes to her only a few months after they've met. Ugh. The first 15 minutes of the movie could have been cut and the story would have been the same.

But watching Viola and Charlie face off was pretty entertaining. Picture a back-and-forth comedic rivalry and you'll get the idea. Lots of dirty tricks and not-so-subtle ones.

Near the end, (mild spoilers) Viola's own mother-in-law shows up. I get the feeling they want us to like her because she sides with Charlie and berates Viola. But she's so rude that it's hard to see why we should, especially since she's just another monster of an in-law. Plus, this is when Ruby decides to tell Viola she crossed a line. And then suddenly Charlie and Viola fix all their problems.

Overall, it has some problems, but still worth a watch.


Sex:Upon the news that her baby boy is engaged, Viola assumes it's because of a pregnancy. She then proceeds to tell them they have other options (adoption, abortion, and lesbianism). Viola believes men think straight only during an erection, which is usually pointed "right at the trampiest woman." Ruby asks if she means Charlie or herself. This would be because Viola has been promiscuous in the past and married four times, divorcing one husband for an actor who turned out to be gay. She kicked him out after he had sex with her second husband. Ruby suggests Viola get another husband (maybe another gay guy) to give her something to do.
A pop star (who's less than 17) dances suggestively in shorts and a tiny top. She asks in a song "Am I kinky or sweet?" Her male backup dancers are shirtless. When this pop idol is interviewed and asked if she ever reads a newspaper, someone remarks in the background "Viola, the girl has stars on her nipples."
In trying to sabotage her son's relationship, Viola sends Kevin's ex to seduce Kevin while he changes clothes. She plants a kiss on him just as Charlie walks in. Earlier, this same ex-girlfriend tried to keep Charlie away from Kevin by lying he was gay and engaged to a man. Charlie flings tomato sauce at Viola, some of which lands in her cleavage. The happy couple get affectionate during one of Viola's calls. They start to have phone sex (while Charlie taking a bubble bath) before they're interrupted. Later, he asks if she wants to take a shower, she eagerly says yes.
There are a handful of shirtless men and women in low-cut tops or bikinis. A guy hits on someone, who turns around and is revealed to be underage (he defends himself by saying she looked a lot older). After a painful hit, Ruby complains she thinks her vagina is dislocated. She also calls Kevin a "fine piece of a**". When Charlie serves shrimp in balls (balls of dough that is), someone makes a rude comment about not needing any fish genitalia. A dog humps another. Charlie's friends tell her she's turning into a freak from not having sex. Her guy friend (who's gay) looks at an outfit she's designing and says even he'd wear it. He also jokes that's he is comfortable enough with his sexuality to wear a girly apron. Viola rudely insinuates that Charlie isn't a virgin and asks her how many men she had sex with.

Violence:
Viola imagines slamming Charlie's face into a dessert. Charlie herself thinks of hitting her soon-to-be in-law in the face with a frying pan. A woman has an allergic reaction to a food, causing her face to swell up. Ruby is kicked and smacked with a drawer.
Viola trashes her dressing room, tackles a young pop star, "accidentally" hits Charlie in her sleep, and pretends to pass out. Part of violent TV shows and news programs play. Dogs trash Viola's room. The mother and fiancée eventually get into a slap fight. A dog bites Kevin. Ruby asks if Charlie has any firearms in the house and tells her she might want to get one.

Drugs/Alcohol:
Viola has alcohol problems. After a stressful situation, she ransacks the medicine cabinet and takes out something 15% alcohol. When Viola greets Ruby cheerfully, the response is that it's good she's still medicated.
Viola is given pills for anxiety, and she isn't supposed to drink alcohol with them. Charlie drugs her. When a woman tells a man they once had a strong bond; he says no, they had strong drinks. Drinks are served at parties. Ruby drinks when Viola proposes a new plan. One said plan involves looking for drugs or other such scandalous things in Charlie's past.

Language/Insults:
"Motherf**ker" is cut off halfway through. One "G*dd**n". "G*d", "sh*t", "tramp", "J*sus", "slut", "a**", "freaking", "b**ch", "d**n", and "h*ll" are used a few times. A couple of middle fingers. Viola calls Charlie fat.

Spiritual:
Viola performs a ritual with a big feather and some kind of incense. She asks the Holy Spirit to rid her of her bad karma and wickedness and make her a better person, right before she screams she could kill Charlie (calling her a slut). Speaking of Charlie, she and her friends look at tarot cards. She reads horoscopes and says that seeing Kevin twice in one day is a sign. Viola says she thought Kevin looked like Jesus in a particular church. She also has a Bible that she may or may not be actually reading when she's in the hospital. Charlie would prefer a non-denominational service because she's spiritual, but not religious (though a priest does perform it). She's given a cross necklace to wear down the aisle. Ruby wonders who she killed in a past life upon hearing she'll be stuck with Viola.


So what was your opinion?


© 2014 by M.R.R.

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