Monster-in-Law (2005)

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Released 7-Dec-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-Cast And Crew
Deleted Scenes
Music Video-Ruby's Make-up Bag
Featurette-Welcome Back, Jane Fonda
Featurette-Keeping It Real With Jennifer
Featurette-Robert Luketic-The Man Behind The Monster
Featurette-Vartan, The Man!
Teaser Trailer-2
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 97:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (86:44) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Luketic

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jennifer Lopez
Jane Fonda
Michael Vartan
Wanda Sykes
Adam Scott
Annie Parisse
Monet Mazur
Elaine Stritch
Will Arnett
Stephen Dunham
Randee Heller
Mark Moses
Tomiko Fraser
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music David Newman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Romantic comedies are obviously a difficult genre, despite their popularity. There are a lot more mediocre ones than excellent ones and unfortunately this one falls into the mediocre category. There are some good things about it but there are also some elements which don't work very well. Unfortunately, one of the elements which doesn't work well is the central romance between Jennifer Lopez and Michael Vartan.

    The plot of the movie involves Charlie (Lopez) who is a temp working in various jobs such as dog walking, reception, waitressing and other things. She is single and on the prowl for an eligible man. It is then that she notices Kevin Fields (Vartan) at the beach and then sees him again shortly afterwards. Taking this as a sign, the next time she sees him (even though she is a waitress at his party) she introduces herself in a slightly embarrassing way. Meanwhile, Viola Fields (Jane Fonda), Kevin's mother, has just been sacked from her job as a TV star after hosting a long running variety show. She ends up breaking down and requiring some months in an institution. Shortly after her release, Kevin brings Charlie to visit her and her live-in assistant, Ruby (Wanda Sykes). Viola is horrified that Kevin has fallen for this woman who she sees as beneath him. Much to her horror, Kevin proposes to Charlie during the visit. The rest of the movie follows Viola's attempts to break them up in a variety of ways including embarrassing Charlie, trying to annoy her and inviting Kevin's old girlfriend to various events.

    This is not a bad romantic comedy but it's not a great one either. Fonda is very good, if over the top, in her role as the titular Monster-in-law. This is her first film role since going into retirement 15 years ago. Wanda Sykes steals the show as her assistant and has some great lines to deliver, which she does very well. The problem is that the central romantic couple are not very believable and Lopez is not believable either as the love interest or when she fights back against Viola.

    The film was directed by Australian Robert Luketic, probably best known for helming Legally Blonde, which was his first film in Hollywood. If you enjoy romantic comedies this one is a light and sometimes amusing piece of entertainment which passes an hour and a half quite pleasantly, without rising to any great heights.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was excellent. There was no noticeable grain.

    The colour was wonderful, rich and solid throughout.

    The only artefact I noticed was one spot of edge enhancement at 11:50 but it was certainly not a major issue.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 86:44 and was not noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s. Both soundtracks are fine but obviously those with surround sound set-ups should choose the 5.1 track.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by David Newman is fine without being outstanding, however, the song choices were very good.

    The surround speakers added some mild directional effects and atmosphere. This is not an overly dynamic soundtrack as you would expect from a romantic comedy.

    The subwoofer added bass here and there without really standing out.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are quite a lot of extras but none of them are particularly noteworthy. All are 16x9 enhanced with 2.0 sound.


    The menu included a nice design, some music and scenes from the film plus allowed access to scenes, audio and subtitle choices.

Commentary - Director Robert Luketic, Producer Chris Bender, Wanda Sykes and various other crew

    This is a patched together commentary from various conversations between the director and the other contributors. The director is there all the way through but the others come and go. Regardless of the format this is a very ordinary commentary. Most of the time is spent laughing at in-jokes the rest of us don't get or saying how wonderful everybody was. They do touch on technical issues, casting, locations and tell some anecdotes, but this is pretty dire stuff.

Deleted Scenes (11:59 + Director intro 0:11) 

    A selection of reasonably interesting deleted scenes is included which features some more of the quirky humour which only showed up occasionally in the film itself. Well worth a look.

Ruby's Make-up Bag (1:37)

    This is Wanda Sykes doing an amusing pisstake version of the song included in the film by a Britney Spears look-a-like.

Gag Reel (5:00)

    Oh, dear. This is probably the worst gag reel I have ever seen. Zzzzzzzz.


    This section includes a number of featurettes. Included are


    A listing of the soundtrack album which links to some of the scenes from the film where the songs are used.

Teaser Trailer A (1:11)

    Good short trailer.

Teaser Trailer B (1:10)

    Slightly different teaser.

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

    The full award winning trailer.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie has been released in Region 1. The differences are as follows:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis you may as well call it a draw.


    A flawed romantic comedy.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The set has a large collection of extras, most of which are a waste of time.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, December 02, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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