© Warner Bros. Pictures Germany

Das Schwieger Monster (Monster-In-Law)
U.S.A. 2005

Opening 26 May 2005

Directed by: Robert Luketic
Writing credits: Anya Kochoff
Principal actors: Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan, Wanda Sykes, Elaine Stritch

It’s a good bet that any woman can identify with the characters in this film. But which one? Are you the bride, trying to find your place in a new family, or are you the mother-in-law, with your longtime role as matriarch threatened by some new gal in your son’s life? (If you’re a man, you’re lucky to claim blissful ignorance of the "subtle" struggles for alpha-female dominance within a family.)

The match-up is a worthy one: Viola, played by the legendary Jane Fonda, who with this film makes her return to Hollywood after 15 years, versus Charlie, played by Jenny-from-the-block Jennifer Lopez, one of the current reigning princesses of romantic comedy. The story, while predictable, is delightfully carried along by the often enough laugh-out-loud dialog and the zany antics brought on by the sheer desperation of the battling beauties. And beautiful they are! Jane Fonda has apparently never stopped working out, and in spite of the many fat jokes aimed at her in the course of the film, J. Lo just glows. Over the top in its ridiculousness but charming in its simplicity, Monster-In-Law is an everyday feel-good chick-flick. There’s no deep message here, but then, that’s why it’s called entertainment. The extra half star is earned entirely by Elaine Stritch’s portrayal of Viola’s mother-in-law! (Alyssa Cirelli)

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