Predictable romantic comedy lacks kid appeal.
  • Review Date: August 25, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Catfighting women, not exactly innovative.




Lovey-dovey couple.


Some strong language.


Diva goes shopping.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Jokes made of diva's drinking and drug abuse.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film includes some loud displays of drunkenness and physical violence, framed as comedy (including Jane Fonda slamming Jennifer Lopez's head onto a table). Though the tone is mostly light, the jokes become repetitive: Fonda and Lopez spar while vapid son/fiancé Michael Vartan stands by (or at one point actually disappears for a medical convention, being a doctor). Characters drink, smoke, and make snide remarks to and about one another.

What's the story?

Having survived a series of husbands and a grueling globe-trotting career, self-loving celebrity interviewer Viola Fields (Jane Fonda) finally makes it to the top only to be fired and replaced by a younger version of herself. She suffers a \"breakdown,\" and is shipped off to a clinic to recuperate. On her return home, she learns that her doctor son Kevin (Michael Vartan) is going to \"marry a temp,\" namely, sensible, Kewpie-doll-voiced, proud-of-her-booty Charlie (Jennifer Lopez). Though Viola schemes to win back her son's attention by abusing Charlie to the point that she's run away, the women are actually well-matched. Because Charlie is here playing the nice, non-diva J-Lo, she doesn't fight back until it's absolutely plain Viola's been deceiving everyone in order to Get Her Way.

Is it any good?


It's clear that the women in MONSTER-IN-LAW are doomed to repeat their learned, bad behavior indefinitely. What's most disturbing about the movie is not the familiar formula, but the fact that classy Fonda is stooping to it. What's most interesting is the film's use of both "transgressive" women -- Fonda and Lopez -- as they form a continuum of ambition, success, and widely broadcast implosions and meltdowns.

But the film's liveliest element is Viola's long-suffering assistant Ruby (Wanda Sykes), a wisecracking sidekick who speaks just enough truth to seem funny, but not enough to lose her job. The fact that she's black, surrounded, particularly at Viola's mansion, by literal and metaphorical whiteness, only underlines her welcome distinctiveness and her caricature-ish wisdom.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the jealousy and silly fighting between the two primary women. Why do women (in movies) compete over a man's attention? How does the movie make their insecurities into jokes? How might the mother and son develop better communication?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 13, 2005
DVD release date:August 30, 2005
Cast:Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan
Director:Robert Luketic
Studio:New Line
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sex references and language

This review of Monster-in-Law was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent of a 14 and 15 year old Written byLiz Perle April 9, 2008

so funny. but what was Jane thinking?

Love Jane fonda. And it made me giggle and even slap a thigh or two. A great time waster but you could do worse. dont bring your little ones. I did go with a 15 yr old girl who also laughed out loud at inappropriate humor. younger than that...i don't think so.
Adult Written byHaloFreak123 April 9, 2008


I'm not into romance at all, but this movie was very good. Not sappy or mushy. There is no sex, but there are some references. But this movie it ok for 13 and up.
Adult Written byChristianmom9803 April 9, 2008

not for small kids

it was funny, i cant remember any sexual content, there was some language and some drinking, recomended for kids 13+


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