Monster-in-law starts off as a RomCom, complete with a series of meet-cutes. Then we meet the male love interest’s mother, and she and the female love interest hit it off—emphasis on “hit”.
1—Gaslighting, Poisoning, and Physical Abuse
All of which are played for humor, and rather successfully—though the nut-allergy thing isn’t funny, given how severe a problem they are in real life. Viola, the monster mother-in-law, starts by trying to drive Charlie, the prospective bride and daughter-in-law, crazy by moving in with her and acting crazy herself. When Charlie catches on, the war really begins, each woman trying to drive off the other without letting Kevin, the son/prospective groom, in on things.
Ruby, played by the comedian Wanda Sykes, was the funniest character in this movie. She’s Viola’s assistant and got all the best lines. That side-glance sense of humor was just spot on. She also provides the emotional epiphany Viola needs at the end of the movie. What could have been a throwaway sidekick character really shines.
The humor in Monster-in-Law is a little over the top but the actors make it work. Jennifer Lopez is just charming as Charlie, who can more than hold her own against the manipulative and desperate-to-not-loose-her-only-child Viola (played by Jane Fonda). Both actresses bring heart to their parts. And Charlie’s friends, especially Remy (played by Adam Scott), shine in their own right. The acting is what really makes this movie fun to watch rather than cringe-worthy.
Monster-in-Law was fun and the actors all really brought it. Good if you’re looking for a little fluff with a little, but not too much, saccharine-ness.