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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.36%
Worth A Look: 3.57%
Pretty Bad: 5.36%
Total Crap: 37.5%

7 reviews, 14 user ratings

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Drowning Mona
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by Erik Childress

"Another Dark Comedy Misses The Mark"
3 stars

Drowning Mona (** Ĺ) Ė To think of Drowning Mona as a whodunit is the wrong approach. It doesnít pretend to be a mystery taken as seriously as a Sam Spade story or even the Scream films. Itís meant to be a comedy with quirky inhabitants of a small town and how no one but the town sheriff seems to care about the victimís death. This premise has potential for unlimited comic possibilites, but instead only produces sporadic laughs that suits it as a better video rental than a trip to the theater.

We set our scene in a small town where everyone drives a Yugo and some like to play kinky Wheel of Fortune games. Everyone has a reason to kill Mona Dearley Ė they hate her. And we can understand why. Played by Bette Midler as a white trash version of her Ruthless People character, Mona is an unescapable bitchy nag that makes one wonder what her husband ever saw in her in the first place. Through flashbacks we witness the interaction she had with all of the potential suspects, all involving yelling, hitting and destruction of property. Like everyone else in the movie, we start thinking that the world was done a great service with her offing. The problem with the script is that it spends too much focus on the most uninteresting character in the film, the good-natured fiance of Neve Campbell played by Benís brother, Casey Affleck. Coupled with Affleckís boring performance, his character is too sweet to be quirky and too boring to be funny. Neve doesnít have much to do either outside of one amusing scene late after suspecting Casey to be the killer. Jamie Lee Curtis is also shortchanged, not being given the chance to display the comic talent she showed off in A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies. Danny DeVito plays the straight role with ease, but his character seems bored to even be in the film. However, William Fichtner gives a virtually perfect performance as the suffering husband of Mona. Between this and his terrific turn in last yearís Go, Fichtner is going beyond the duty of proving himself a worthy comic actor. Give him some more work. I also enjoyed the urban legends that have grown as a result of Monaís sonís missing hand, but thatís about the extent of the good laughs.

Drowning Mona takes the opposite approach of another dark comedy that just missed this year, The Whole Nine Yards. That film had a wacky situation, but the characters werenít very interesting. Here, the characters still are not very interesting, but are a little wacky Ė but the situation isnít very funny leaving yet another film that doesnít have all the right elements for pulling off a successful screwball comedy. Itís not a particularly bad film (well maybe without the Fichtner performance) and itís short and always watchable, but it has a script that maybe focused more on the mystery element than it should have. (Note: With an all-name cast, Drowning Mona is a quote whoreís wet dream. You know who they are. Youíve seen their quotes in the filmís ads. Unfortunately itís not the funniest comedy since Ruthless People. Itís not the best dark comedy since A Fish Called Wanda. And Neve Campbell isnít exactly a scream. Clever, huh?)

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originally posted: 03/07/00 09:41:37
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User Comments

12/20/08 Mack One of the funniest movies I've ever seen! 5 stars
6/15/06 gsdgs drowning mona was hilarious! one of the best movies ever! 5 stars
3/30/06 A.C. This films is'nt actually about the 'mystery' It is being taught at BU now. 5 stars
2/21/06 suzanne kraus mancuso well, I have seen better! 2 stars
9/26/04 Tor Honolulu There was a moment or three when I was glad I was watching this. You've seen worse 3 stars
4/12/03 Jack Sommersby Unfunny and condescending. Affleck is a catastrophe. 1 stars
9/02/01 Butterbean I hate comedy that turns out to be boring. 1 stars
11/21/00 Monday Morning Definitely has its moments, very much worth a rental. 4 stars
5/30/00 Elvisfan If I laughed four times it was alot; what a waste of talent & money 2 stars
3/31/00 Angel Rei two words: bite it 1 stars
3/15/00 Drano Will Ferrell perpetually cracks me up, even in this small part. 2 stars
3/08/00 Theia Play the Lawnmower Chase. Kill the doggies. More fun than the movie. 3 stars
3/07/00 LoudChris Simple and worth a few laughs. 4 stars
3/06/00 Captain Highcrime Surprisingly LESS funny than the trailers led us to believe; comic emphasis is misplaced. 3 stars
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  12-Oct-2000 (M)

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