Someone alert the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, because Jane Fonda has returned, and boy is she pissed. America's favorite antiwar punching bag hasn't made a movie in years, preferring to play the role of corporate trophy wife to Ted Turner. And Monster-in-Law, where she essays an aging, bitter broadcasting legend ' Barbara Walters by way of Norma Desmond ' isn't likely to win her a third Oscar. But at least she's back among us, reinventing herself yet again, this time as a comedian. And if she ever does locate her funny bone in that beautifully well-preserved body of hers, be sure to let me know.
Teaming up with Jennifer Lopez was a savvy move on Fonda's part. And pitting their characters against each other in a mother-and-daughter-in-law battle to the death could have been a comedy gold mine. But neither of these women is known for her comedic ability, leaving us with the not entirely unpleasant task of watching them go through the motions. Lopez is a dog walker/yoga instructor who meets the surgeon of her dreams in the form of Michael Vartan. He's rich, handsome and presumably good with his hands. Just one small problem: He's already married. To his mother.
She seems to think so, anyway. As Viola Fields, a woman who, until being dropped by her network, was used to getting what she wanted, Fonda lets it all hang out. And part of the pleasure in watching the movie is seeing how far she's willing to go to get a laugh. Personally, I prefer the scene where she goes face-down in a steaming plate of tripe. Or the scene where she screams at the top of her lungs, "I could kill that dog-walking slut." For bona fide laughs, Wanda Sykes is around as the black maid ' excuse me, personal assistant. But the real draw here is Jane Fonda refusing to act her age while displaying every square inch of it.