Rating: 1 out of 5
If you've ever found yourself in a theater watching a movie like Throw Momma from the Train or Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, then you'll understand my experience with Drowning Mona. Drowning Mona is one of those films that you might hear about and shrug it off as a bad idea. Then you'll see a trailer and realize that your first instinct was right. There is no logical reason for you to ever see this movie. It looks unfunny, moronic, and you have already crossed it off the list of all the movies you are potentially interested in ever investing your time in. But despite all of that, you somehow end up forking over eight bucks for the privilege to see it. And your worst fears are realized.
Suffice it to say that Drowning Mona is a bad film. It is a very bad film. Let us count the ways.
First, there is the plot. Everybody hates Mona. Mona gets killed. And the question is not who did it, but who didn't do it. As far as this plot goes, let me just ask, can anybody think of a good whodunit black comedy? Hell, The Trouble With Harry was Alfred Hitchcock's worst movie. I'll even go so far as to say that it's simply not wise to attempt to conjure any sort of comedy out of movies about mean and/or dead women. Anyone who has seen either of the two movies cited above should understand this concern. In the particular case of Mona, it seems to be an important element of the plot and theme of the movie that nobody seems to care who killed Mona. They are just glad that she is dead. Well, I ask, if nobody in the movie cares, then why the hell would we?
The second problem with the film is the characters and the acting. The actors were actually the reason I talked myself into seeing this film in the first place. I mean sure, Danny Devito and Bette Midler have a tendency to not discriminate when it comes to scripts. And they also have a tendency to sink to the level of their material. But here we had Jamie Lee Curtis, William Fichtner, Casey Affleck, and Will Ferrell, all actors whom I before had thought either had some talent or were at the very least a little funny. But none of them pulled it off here. Affleck particularly, who was hilarious in Good Will Hunting, turns in a conspicuously morose performance as the good kid that turns into the prime suspect. Fichtner has the sole funny line in the script. Ferrell, as the funeral home director, trying to pull off yet another variation of his Saturday Night Live stock character (half shifty, half outright weird), just can't seem to suck enough out of the script to generate a single laugh.
The third problem with the film is the theme, otherwise known as the point. To put it bluntly, this movie has no point.
So just in case your best judgment has left you and you find yourself standing at the ticket booth. Maybe everything else is sold out. Maybe you feel a sudden compulsion to experience the entire oeuvre of Bette Midler. Maybe you're just not thinking. Please, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. If movies like this perform poorly enough at the box office, maybe we won't be subjected to any more of them.
That's my public service announcement for the month. Black comedy is hard. Only the select few, like the Coen brothers or Stanley Kubrick seem to be able to pull it off. Please note that none of them had anything to do with this film.
Facts and Figures
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Friday 3rd March 2000
Box Office Worldwide: $15.4M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Neverland Films, Code Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 54
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Cast & Crew
Director: Nick Gomez
Screenwriter: Peter Steinfeld
Starring: Danny DeVito as Chief Wyatt Rash, Bette Midler as Mona Dearly, Neve Campbell as Ellen Rash, Jamie Lee Curtis as Rona Mace, Casey Affleck as Bobby Calzone, William Fichtner as Phil Dearly, Marcus Thomas as Jeff Dearly, Peter Dobson as Lt. Feege Gruber, Kathleen Wilhoite as Lucinda, Tracey Walter as Clarence, Will Ferrell as Cubby the Funeral Director, Paul Ben-Victor as Deputy Tony Carlucci, Paul Schulze as Deputy Jimmy D., Mark Pellegrino as Murph Calzone, Raymond O'Connor as Father Tom Stowick, Melissa McCarthy as Shirley