Drowning Mona | Chicago Reader

Drowning Mona

There's enough here of what critic Manny Farber once called “oily overdefinition of the working class” to keep a service station running all year. Bette Midler plays the small-town virago whose car lands in the river when her brakes fail; everyone in town, including her husband and son, hates her so much that police chief Danny DeVito spends the whole movie careening from one suspect to the next. The problem is, why should we care who killed her? Everyone here is made to seem ugly and stupid, and the movie's one joke is to slime them all over and over again. Though it pretends to be in love with its own bad taste, there's a world of difference between this nasty piece of work and There's Something About Mary, and it's hard to believe that the characters' economic bracket has nothing to do with the movie's attitude. For whatever it's worth, I didn't laugh once. With Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck, and William Fichtner; Nick Gomez directed from a labored script by Peter Steinfeld.

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