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DROWNING MONA

SYNOPSIS:
In the town of Verplanck, N.Y, the unloved Mona Dearly (Bette Middler) is killed when her brakes fail and her car plunges into the Hudson River. When it's confirmed her car had been tamprered with, local police chief Rash (Danny DeVito) initiates a murder investigation, only to discover that almost everyone in town had a motive for killing Mona. Flashbacks reveal the roles played by Rash's daughter Ellen (Neve Campbell), her fiance Bobby (Casey Affleck), Mona's husband Phil (William Fichtner) and Rona (Jamie Lee Curtis), a waitress conducting affairs with both Phil and his one-handed son Jeff (Marcus Thomas) in the lead-up to Mona's demise.

"For the first twenty minutes Drowning Mona struggles to find its tone and tempo. Then suddenly everything clicks into place and it quickly insinuates itself as one of the funniest black comedies in recent memory. It opens startlingly when Bette Midler, armed with a face that could stop a train, stomps out of her lower middle class home and plunges her car into the drink. A socko opening but then it marks time while the roster of suspects is introduced. Once lesbian garage mechanic Lucinda (Kathleen Wilhoite) confirms that Mona's car was 'fixed to kill' the fun really starts as chief Rash (the only human character in a town full of lunatics) begins his investigation. Midler doesn't have that much screen time, which is either a blessing or a disappointment depending on your point of view, but makes major impact every time her ball-busting harridan lets loose. For maximum enjoyment it's best not to approach this primarily as a murder mystery; the whodunnit angle is subservient to the parade of weirdos and is something of a let down in its resolution. There's much more purchase in simply letting your jaw hit the floor as these hilariously demented, dimwitted and morally bankrupt characters show you why it's no lie when DeVito says "I've seen people more upset at losing change in a candy machine" when assessing the impact of Mona's death. There are so many funny touches and characters along the way including a drunken clergyman tottering at the bar who says 'you can't cut me off, I'm a priest', a bizarro undertaker with a penchant for nude photography and Jamie Lee Curtis' awesome 1970's sharpie-girl haircut which wins the retro coiffure of the year award. The ensemble work of a game cast and the very, very black humour in this slice of life in Looney-Tune Town U.S.A. ensures that Mona's drowning was not in vain. Great fun once it gets going."
Richard Kuipers

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

TRAILER

DROWNING MONA (M)
(US)

CAST: Bette Midler, Danny DeVito, Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck, Kathleen Wilhoite

DIRECTOR: Nick Gomez

PRODUCER: Al Corley, Eugene Musso, Bart Rosenblatt

SCRIPT: Peter Steinfeld

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Bruce Douglas Johnson

EDITOR: Richard Pearson

MUSIC: Michael Tavera

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Toyon

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 12, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Col Tristar Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE: February 21, 2001







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