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The Jane Fonda Workout

Comeback movies are like the first day of school. It is that rare opportunity when one can completely reinvent oneself. The past seems to be erased, the braces are off, chubby pockets are all smoothed out, and all is fresh and new. Jane Fonda is fabulous in, what seems to be her comeback movie, Monster-in-Law.

And a monster she is! She plays Viola Fields, a glamorous world-renowned television journalist a la Barbara Walters who is forced into early retirement. To put it mildly: she doesn't deal with it quite well. When her son, Kevin (Michael "Yum" Vartan), visits her with his new girlfriend, Charlie (J.Lo), and then proceeds to propose right in front of her, all her feelings of inadequacy come forth full force. She is determined to be the primary woman in his life (hello, Freud!), and will do anything to keep the status quo. Including making his new fiancé's life a living hell. Hilarity ensues.

Comedian Wanda Sykes, playing her assistant Ruby, delivers many of the movie's funniest lines. But it is Fonda who is the reigning queen here; she has a natural knack for physical comedy and seems to really inherit her character. Which is more than can be said for Jennifer Lopez. While she was not horrible, she did not seem comfortable, and therefore, believable in her role; she was not "feeling" Charlie. She squeaked out all her lines in this high-pitched hi-I'm-twelve-and-selling-Girl-Scout-cookies voice that not only sounded as if it were dubbed but which also was grating. Vartan's character was hollow (read: eye candy). The best scene in the whole film comes during the couple's rehearsal dinner when Ruby and Viola try to hide the evidence of a very evil act with all the grace of an "I Love Lucy" episode.

All in all, Monster-in-Law is quite entertaining (a great girls' night out flick). Especially to those who are already married and have little monsters of their own.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars