With the combined star talents of Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck, Neve Campbell and Will Ferrell I was expecting a decent, if mediocre comedy in 'Drowning Mona'. In the end I got a couple of chuckles, nothing more. The film plays out like an extremely poor attempt at excessive and silly humour, but it comes across as lame, untidy and unfunny.
The film recounts the drowning of the titular Mona who drives her car off a cliff, and how each member of the small town might have a part to play in her death. Was it murder, attempted murder or suicide? Frankly, I never cared. Not one part of the script makes you care for any of these characters, or the plot revelations. Everything just unfolds, in a haphazard sort of way, and all you can do is endure.
All of the performances are off-key; the only one I would be willing to grant an exception being Neve Campbell's, who is adequate as the ditzy fiancÚ to her equally bemusing boyfriend. The rest are simply caricatures. A few times I wondered if that may be the point, but there are too many lines that really try for moving dialogue; I couldn't see it. Bette Midler comes across as brash and abrasive, Casey Affleck uncertain and Curtis just speaks her words with a cocky bravado. None of the characters have any redeeming qualities worth mentioning.
The only funny jokes that make their way into the screenplay just feel like they belong to a separate picture. 'Drowning Mona' has a major problem with tone; one minute it's a slapstick comedy, the next a B-rate thriller. It moves up and down too frequently, each scene belonging to itself rather than making a complete and cohesive whole.
Conclusively, 'Drowning Mona' just doesn't work. I don't hate it, but neither do I appreciate any of its attempts at comedy, right up to the awful wedding finale where the characters briefly reunite over some lousy pop music. (Actually, I do hate that part). The film is immature, crude and dull, full of a bunch of aggravating characters who I wouldn't mind seeing at the bottom of a river either. No investigation necessary. Case closed.