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Mona Dearly, a spiteful, loud-mouthed, unpopular woman dies when the car she is driving plunges off a cliff and into a river near the small upstate New York town where she lives. Wyatt Rash, the local police chief, investigates and suspects foul play in Mona's death. The whole town are suspects, including Wyatt's daughter Ellen, who is about to marry landscape artist Bobby Calzone whose business was suffering from his lazy business partner, Jeff, Mona's slow-witted son, as well as waitress Rona Mace, who was having an affair with Mona's husband. Written by
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Everybody hates Mona Dearly, and who could blame them. Mona (Bette Midler) is rude, loud, cruel, and another word for "female dog." Then something happens, Mona dies in a car accident, and town sheriff Wyatt Rash (Danny DeVito) found out that Mona was murdered, and who would kill her. The problem is that there is a long list of suspects. DROWNING MONA is a film that is a good example of the term "black comedy" a film where the viewer would laugh at something that they wouldn't normally laugh at. But unlike some other black comedies (i.e. the most recent IDLE HANDS) this film isn't as cruel and does work. The small town where DROWNING MONA takes place is a intresting town. In the late 1980's, the entire town received test cars from the Yugo car company. And what's funny is that everyone in the town drives a Yugo. Town sheriff Wyatt goes around his town looking for the person who would tamper with the Yugo that Mona was driving, and send her to her watery death. There's Mona's husband, Phil (William Fichtner) who is having a affair with Rona (Jamie Lee Curtis), who is also a suspect. There's Bobby Calzone (Casey Affleck) a young and ambitious young man who is engaged to the sheriff's daughter, Ellen (Neve Campbell). Then there is Bobby's partner in their business, Mona's son, Jeff (Marcus Thomas) who is very dim, and mean. This is a enjoyable film, but it's not the best black comedy of all time. It does work at times, and at other times it fall flat on it's face. There are some very funny scenes involved with Mona's son, Jeff, on how he might have lost his right hand. And the town's loony mortician (Will Ferrel) does have some good scenes, but not enough. The acting from the cast is good though. Danny DeVito is good as the man who is investigating the crime of Mona's death. Jamie Lee Curtis is also good as the woman who could care less about Mona, and move on with her life. Neve Campbell does o.k. with what little role that she has. William Fichtner, Casey Affleck, and Marcus Thomas are all also good, but nothing outstanding. It seems that the person who gets to steal all of the scenes belong to Bette. She does another role that she is good at, a role that is similar to her role in RUTHLESS PEOPLE. But overall, DROWNING MONA isn't as funny or as witty as RUTHLESS, since both films have characters that are rather ruthless. But director Nick Gomez (HBO's THE SOPRANO'S & OZ) does a respectable first time job for a big feature film. MONA isn't great, but it's worth watching at least once. But if you want to see DeVito and Midler act more funnier and vicious, watch RUTHLESS PEOPLE. ***1/2 (out of five)
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