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March 10 - 17, 2000

[Movie Reviews]

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Drowning Mona

by Tom Meek

Director Nick Gomez, the Somerville native who demonstrated such promise with Laws of Gravity and The Sopranos, finds himself a long way from his usual mean streets with this Fargo pretender. Drowning Mona opens with a punchy, dark set-up worthy of the Farrelly or the Cohen brothers, but as its resolution wanders into Murder by Death territory, it turns bland and predictable. Bette Midler's title character is a nag of a mom, a troll of a wife, and an overall social menace in her small backwoods New Jersey township. She dies in a car accident that turns out to be no accident, and all the locals are suspect. There's Mona's cheating husband (William Fichtner), the waitress (Jamie Lee Curtis sporting a gaudy colored coif) he's having an affair with, the son's landscape partner (a blond and Opie-earnest Casey Affleck), and even the dimwitted son (Marcus Thomas) himself. Danny DeVito is amicable as the law-enforcement head trying to unravel the mess, and Neve Campbell, as his daughter, does well with a working-class accent. All the same, this not-so comic black comedy goes down the drink.
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