White trash meets its mash in Drowning Mona, a murder mystery comedy where everyone is suspect, everyone is lower class, and everyone drives a Yugo.
Bette Midler is Mona, a horrible monster of a woman who no one, including her son and husband, likes. When she goes off a cliff in a very non-accidental way, the town's sheriff, played by Danny DeVito, starts investigating, and realizes that just about everyone has motive. The rest of the cast includes Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck, Peter Dobson, Will Ferrell, William Fichtner, and Raymond O'Connor, and to some degree or another, they are all weird characters.
Drowning Mona won't go down as the most stimulating movie, nor will it win any awards for its script, but the cast manages to make a pretty decrepit movie into a somewhat entertaining one. Some of the lines in the film are so matter-of-fact that they are funny, and the characters all have their perks. For example, Will Ferrell of "Saturday Night Live" works at the morgue, and gets extremely excited about the whole murder rampage going on, since that means more business for him.
Drowning Mona has its funny parts, but it is definitely not a movie that will be watched more than once. It isn't smart enough, funny enough, or entertaining enough to allow an audience to watch it twice, and the reason for this is quite obvious. None of the actors are used to their full potential... Well, just about nothing is used to its full potential.
The direction isn't very good either, relying on several flashbacks to set up motives and back stories. The flashbacks just seem very hastily done and sometimes are sort of unnecessary, and many times seem as though they are being used as a means to explain things easier. I think a more chronological approach would have worked better.
I've seen worse movies in my day, but Drowning Mona still doesn't rank that high.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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