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A wedding cake with figurines of the bride and groom. A finger pushes the bride into the cake.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Luketic
Produced by
Written by Anya Kochoff
Music by
Cinematography Russell Carpenter
Edited by
  • Scott Hill
  • Kevin Tent
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date
  • May 5, 2005 (2005-05-05) (Atlanta)
  • May 13, 2005 (2005-05-13) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $43 million[1]
Box office $154.7 million[1]

Monster-in-Law is a 2005 American romantic comedy film directed by Robert Luketic, written by Anya Kochoff and starring Jane Fonda, Jennifer Lopez, Michael Vartan and Wanda Sykes. It marked a return to cinema for Fonda, being her first film since Stanley & Iris in 1990. The film was negatively received by critics but was a box office success, grossing $154 million on a $43 million budget.


Charlie Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) is a temp/dog walker/yoga instructor and aspiring fashion designer from Venice Beach, California, who meets doctor Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan). She thinks he's gay at first, based on a lie Kevin's former girlfriend Fiona (Monet Mazur) told her. But then Kevin asks her out, and Charlie believes that she's finally found the right man.

Things start to go wrong when Kevin introduces Charlie to his mother, Viola Fields (Jane Fonda). Viola is a former newscaster, who has recently been replaced by someone younger, and is in the midst of a meltdown. Loathing Charlie from the outset, Viola becomes even more distraught when Kevin proposes to Charlie. Fearing that she'll lose her son the same way she lost her career, she sets out to ruin Kevin and Charlie's relationship. With Ruby (Wanda Sykes), her assistant, she tries everything possible to drive Charlie away.

Charlie eventually catches on to Viola's plan and fights back. On Charlie's wedding day, Viola turns up wearing a white dress instead of the peach-colored dress specially made for her. This leads to a violent stand-off between the two, leading with Viola refusing to accept Charlie and states she'll never be good enough for Kevin. Suddenly, Viola's own dreadful mother-in-law, Kevin's grandmother, Gertrude Fields (Elaine Stritch), appears and they have an indignant argument. Gertrude's resentment of Viola bears a strong resemblance to Viola's feelings of animosity toward Charlie. Charlie decides to back–down as she witnesses Gertrude and Viola's relationship and sets out to go and tell Kevin that the wedding is off. But before that can happen, Ruby enters and talks with Viola. Viola has an epiphany and realizes that she wants Charlie to stay, and they reconcile, ending the feud.

Charlie and Kevin then get married and the film ends as Viola and Ruby walk out of the celebration.


Reception [edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 17% based on 165 reviews, and an average rating of 3.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "While Jane Fonda steals the movie in her return to the screen, a tired script and flimsy performances make this borderline comedy fall flat."[2] Metacritic gave the film a weighted average score of 31 out of 100, based on 38 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[3] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film one out of possible four stars, saying: "You do not keep Jane Fonda offscreen for 15 years, only to bring her back as a specimen of rabid Momism. You write a role for her. It makes sense. It fits her. You like her in it. It gives her a relationship with Jennifer Lopez that could plausibly exist in our time and space. It gives her a son who has not wandered over after the "E.R." auditions. And it doesn't supply a supporting character who undercuts every scene she's in by being more on-topic than any of the leads."[4] Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle was one of the few critics who gave the film a positive review, writing: "It's a crude, obvious comedy, which occasionally clunks, but it's often very funny, as well as being a really shrewd bit of popular entertainment. Its appeal resides in a lot of things, not the least of which is a sophisticated awareness of what an audience brings to it."[5]

The $43-million film became a box-office success debuting at number #1 at the box office, earning $83 million ($154.7 worldwide)[6] during its theatrical run in summer 2005.

Lopez earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress for her performance in the film, but lost to Jenny McCarthy for Dirty Love.

Home media [edit]

The two-disc set DVD was released on August 30, 2005 with these features: Audio Commentary, 7 Deleted Scenes, a Blooper Reel, and 4 Featurettes:

  1. "Welcome Back Jane"
  2. "A Jennifer of All Trades"
  3. "Vartan the Man"
  4. "Trendsetters" (2 Parts)

TV series[edit]

On October 13, 2014, it was reported that the Fox Broadcasting Company is developing a TV show based on the film with Amy B. Harris as creator.[7]


  1. ^ a b "Monster-in-Law (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  2. ^ Monster-in-Law at Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ "Monster-in-Law Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 20, 2018. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (2005-05-12). "Monster-in-Law". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  5. ^ LaSalle, Mick. "Honey, meet my mother. Now please try not to kill each other". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-10-27. 
  6. ^ Monster-in-Law at Box Office Mojo
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie. "'Monster-In-Law' Comedy Series Based On Movie In Works At Fox". Retrieved 3 December 2015. 

External links[edit]