DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Monster-In-Law

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matt Stone, Aug 27, 2005.

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  1. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]
    Monster-In-Law
    Directed By: Robert Luketic

    Studio: New Line
    Year: 2005
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic)/4:3 Fullscreen
    Running Time: 1 Hr. 40 Mins.
    Rating: PG-13 (For Sex References and Language)
    Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital (English), 2.0 Dolby Digital (English)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish
    MSRP: $28.98
    Street Date: 30 August, 2005

    Review Date: 27 August, 2005
    (Ratings are out of five stars)

    Summary
    If you’ve seen the trailer or any of the TV spots for Monster-In-Law, you already know the story. Jennifer Lopez plays a lonely woman in search of Mr. Right, played by Alias’s Michael Vartan. It doesn’t take long for Lopez’s character to discover Vartan’s crazy mother. Jane Fonda returns to the world of film after a 15-year absence to play a needy, unlikable bitch, and that’s an understatement. Her character is a recently fired news personality fresh off of a nervous breakdown. Fonda’s Viola tries as hard as possible to scare off Lopez in effort to keep her son to herself.

    Lopez and Vartan have pretty decent chemistry throughout the film, and the supporting characters are pretty sold (especially what there was of Will Arnett). Wanda Sykes is also pretty funny as the straight man to Jane Fonda’s maniac. The exception is Fonda. The problem isn’t with her acting, but with the way her character was written. Obviously the setup of the film has her as a crazily obsessive Mother, but she has no likable characteristics. Rather than being a character that you love to hate, you just hate her. There is no cunning method to her madness, only bile. I’m not sure if this was the intention or not, but it definitely wasn’t pulled off as well as it could have been. It’s really strange that Jane Fonda picked this movie to be her comeback film. It’s not particularly interesting, and her character isn’t a very strong one.

    I’m not actually a fan of romantic comedies, but opening portion comes across pretty well, albeit a little formulaic. There is one thing that bugs me about the premise of this film, and it’s common among romantic comedies. Lopez’s leading character is shown as lonely and unable to meet a man. Meanwhile, back on earth, she’d have packs of men all over her. Oh well, I’m willing to accept a little BS in this type of film. In any event, as cheesy as that aspect is, I would have liked the film a lot more if had played as a standard rom-com.

    Film Rating: [​IMG][​IMG]

    Video
    The transfer features a very warm and vibrant color scheme to reflect the sunny setting of the film. As per usual, New Line has presented a very good transfer. There was no noticeable grain or edge enhancement. The color was a little on the warm side, but I’m sure that was intentional. If you’re a fan of the film, you’ll be very happy with the way it looks.

    Video Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Audio
    I think I recall someone stating that there were dialog issues with the 5.1 track on this DVD, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find any problems. The sound stage is fairly open, and voices seemed to be presented accurately. This is primarily a talking-heads movie, so the only surround/LFE usage was with the music. Like most New Line discs, the audio is as much as you could have asked for.

    Audio Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Extras
    The first disc’s main extra is a feature commentary with. Director Robert Luketic, Wanda Sykes, Producer Chris Bender, Production Designer Missy Stewart, and DoP P. Russel Carpenter. The group focuses on the production of the film, and that may have been interesting if this had been a different film. I’m not saying that romantic comedies don’t have artistic merit, but this film is made by-the-book, so the production details get pretty monotonous after a short time. Only the craziest commentary addicts will want to listen to this one all the way through.

    Most of the DVD’s extras are accessible on the second disc. This is a New Line Platinum Series release, and as such, it’s pretty packed with features. All of the extras here are presented anamorphically.

    Deleted Scenes – There are a total of seven deleted scenes, and you have the ability to watch them all separately or consecutively with the Play All feature. Also included is an introduction by director Robert Luketic. All together, the scenes run just over 12 minutes. I didn’t find any of the scenes interesting, but they were all presented anamorphically and looked as good as the film.
    Ruby’s Make-up Bag – A 1:38 Wanda Sykes fueled music video. Strange feature.
    Gag Reel – Standard gag-reel footage running 5 minutes long. Nothing too interesting, but at least it was funnier than the film [​IMG]
    Documentaries:
    Welcome Back, Jane Fonda(8:20) – This is exactly what the title says it is: a short featurette presenting Jane Fonda’s return to the big screen. I’m not a big Jane Fonda fan, but for those who are, I’m sure this would be interesting.
    Keeping It Real with Jennifer(6:06) – Like the Jane Fonda doc, this covers Jennifer Lopez’s contribution to the film. It’s mainly just every other member of the cast/crew kissing some ass.
    Robert Luketic: The Man Behind the Monster(17:59) – This is the conventional “making-of” section of the documentary. There’s a good deal of on-the-set footage in addition to interviews with the screenwriters, producers, and director Luketic. Luketic seems like an interesting guy, but there wasn’t anything that groundbreaking here. More ass kissing and back patting.
    Vartan, The Man!(5:45) – A short featurette about Michael Vartan. There were some funny moments with Arrested Development’s Will Arnett. In fact, if the movie and extras would have been comprised wholly of Arnett’s contribution, I would have been much happier with the end product.
    Lifestyles(4:34) – This doc contains a little bit of information regarding the setting of the film and the production design. Fairly interesting, but you can’t get much across in under five minutes.
    Fashion(6:04) – Another short featurette about the fashion design of the film.

    The DVD features both teaser trailers, the theatrical trailer, as well as several trailers for other New Line films. The first disc also contains previews from the soundtrack.

    Extras Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    In Closing…
    In one word, I would describe Monster-In-Law as indecisive. It could have been better as a more standardized romantic comedy, or even better than that as a harsh black comedy. The Fonda vs. Lopez confrontation is an interesting idea, but the execution is all wrong, and the only thing we’re left with is an hour plus of uncomfortable humor. Vartan and Lopez are good, but whenever the film feels like it’s moving forward, Fonda pops up to drag it down. New Line has at least provided a good presentation in addition to some interesting extras. Still, an infinite supply of special features isn’t going to make up for a film this lacking. If you like rom-coms, I can recommend this as a rental, but otherwise I’d stay as far away from it as possible.

    Overall Rating: [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Matt Stone
    27 August, 2005
     
  2. Bob clamer

    Bob clamer Supporting Actor

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    I have to say that this was bad. For my wife to say is was terrible is saying something since she loves everything Jane Fonda does. [​IMG]
     
  3. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    awww, it was funny, esp. the assistant. Even J. Lo didn't make me cringe this time.
     
  4. Matt Czyz

    Matt Czyz Supporting Actor

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    I was pretty happy when I saw Will Arnett's name in the opening credits, but man, he was completely wasted in this film. If you're going to cast Will Arnett, *use* him.
     
  5. Ravi K

    Ravi K Supporting Actor

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    Arnett's name actually has me considering renting this thing. No wait, it has passed. I'll watch more Arrested Development instead.
     
  6. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Nice review, Matt!

    It's a shame that they wasted a 2-disc SE on a worthless film like this one.
     
  7. Magnus T

    Magnus T Supporting Actor

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    How did New Line waste a 2 disc SE?
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    The effort could have been used to create the added value for a film that was more deserving of it.
     
  9. Magnus T

    Magnus T Supporting Actor

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    Such as?
     
  10. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Sorry, I'm not getting into this. If you liked the movie, then fine. Enjoy it.
     
  11. Jeff_A

    Jeff_A Screenwriter

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    I have to agree with most of the sentiment here. I really did not enjoy this film at all. For a comedy, there was very little I actually found funny. [​IMG]
     
  12. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    I loved this movie. I'll at least rent it.

    Andy
     

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