Movie: Monster-in-Law

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Our Rating: 2.00

Taken as a whole, this dark comedy from Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde) is torturously slow, stupid, shallow and predictable. But there are a few shining components: Michael Vartan's (TV's Alias) reflective white teeth; Jennifer Lopez's sensuous, glossy lips; Wanda Sykes' smartass mugging; and an unhinged Jane Fonda, in rare form after a 15-year absence from the screen. J.Lo is a free-spirited orphan who falls in love with a rich and beautiful doctor; she's a perky cross between Pollyanna and Pippi Longstocking who walks dogs for a living, among other temporary pursuits. When she lands Prince Charming, she has to deal with his mother, Viola (Fonda), a short-circuited but worldly and wealthy ex-news anchor who is still recuperating from a nervous breakdown. Inherently self-centered, Viola doesn't want to let go of her son, and goes to nutty extremes to prevent the marriage. Fonda is classy and stylish as ever, always in control as her character spins wildly out of the loop before the inevitable happy ending makes us puke. Maybe after she makes some extreme box-office cash, she'll focus her fine talent on a film of substance.

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