Monster-in-Law is a 2005 romantic comedy film directed by Robert Luketic and stars Jennifer Lopez, Jane Fonda, Michael Vartan and Wanda Sykes.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Charlotte "Charlie" Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) is a temp/dog walker/yoga instructor and aspiring fashion designer from Venice Beach, California, who meets surgeon Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan).

She thinks he's gay at first, based on a lie that Fiona (Kevin's ex-girlfriend) told her. But then Kevin asks her out and Charlie believes that she's finally found the right man.

Things start to go wrong when Kevin introduces Charlie to his mother, Viola Fields (Jane Fonda).

Viola is a former newscaster who has recently been replaced by someone younger and is in the midst of a meltdown. Loathing Charlie from the outset, Viola becomes even more distraught when Kevin proposes to Charlie. Fearing that she'll lose her son the same way she lost her career, she sets out to destroy Kevin and Charlie's relationship.

With her trusted assistant, Ruby (Wanda Sykes), she tries everything possible to drive Charlie away. Charlie eventually catches on to Viola's plan and fights back. On the wedding day, Viola turns up wearing a white dress, which is disrespectful as the bride is the only one who is supposed to wear white on her wedding day instead of the dress specially made for her by Charlie.

Then, suddenly, Viola's own dreadful mother-in-law, Kevin's grandmother, Gertrude Fields (Elaine Stritch), appears and they have an indignant argument while Gertrude takes a liking to Charlie, saying she is stunning, her grandson is a lucky man, that she is an "exotic Latina" and if only her son was as lucky to find a woman like Charlie instead of Viola.

Gertrude's resentment of Viola bears a very strong resemblance to Viola's feelings toward Charlie. Gertrude even believes that her son, Kevin's father, had died years ago of "terminal disappointment," for which Gertrude holds Viola responsible.

Viola immediately counters saying Gertrude is mainly responsible for the death of her son because as Viola said, Gertrude "smothered him to death" because she thought nobody was ever good enough for him.

Charlie decides to back down as she witnesses Gertrude and Viola's relationship. "Nothing's going to change," she laments to Viola after Gertrude leaves the room, "In thirty years that will be us."

Charlie exits to tell Kevin that the wedding is off, but before that can happen, Ruby enters and talks with Viola. Viola is miffed that Charlie compared her to Gertrude although Ruby points out that Viola is actually far worse than Gertrud as she doesn't ever recall Gertrude trying to poison Viola once, referring to earlier at the rehearsal dinner when Viola put crushed nuts (which Charlie is highly allergic to) in the meal's gravy.

Ruby points out that Viola's efforts against Charlie to make Kevin happy are unwarranted. "Whatever made you think he wasn't?" is her final point.

Viola has an epiphany and realizes that she wants Charlie to stay, and they reconcile, which ends the feud. Then, Charlie explains to Viola that she wants her to stay, too, on one condition: if Viola accepts the boundaries Charlie needs, if she is present at any family event and if she treats her children with love.

Charlie and Kevin then get married and when Charlie throws her wedding bouquet, Viola catches the flowers. As Charlie and Kevin drive away to their honeymoon, the film ends as Viola and Ruby walk out of the celebration.


  • Jennifer Lopez as Charlotte "Charlie" Cantilini Fields
  • Michael Vartan as Dr. Kevin Fields
  • Jane Fonda as Viola Fields
  • Wanda Sykes as Ruby
  • Adam Scott as Remy
  • Monet Mazur as Fiona
  • Annie Parisse as Morgan
  • Will Arnett as Kit
  • Elaine Stritch as Gertrude Fields
  • Stephen Dunham as Dr. Paul Chamberlain


Box Office[]

"Monster-in-Law" debuted at number one and during its opening weekend, it grossed $23,105,133. It earned $83 million ($154.7 worldwide) during its theatrical run in the summer of 2005.

Critical Reception[]

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 16% based on 163 reviews.

Metacritic gave the film a rating of 31% based on reviews from 38 critics.

Theatrical Trailer[]


Monster-in-Law Movie Trailer