Drowning Mona (2000)



Critic Consensus: Despite Danny De Vito's top billing, Drowning Mona drowns itself in humor that never rises about sitcom level. Contributing to the Mona's problems is that the characters are never really interesting, and there is a noticeable lack of energy in the character roles

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Rage, jealousy, murder, and Eastern European automotive engineering combine in this offbeat black comedy. Verplanck, NY, is a small town north of Manhattan that has the dubious distinction of being the Yugo capital of America; the ill-fated import compact was first test-marketed in Verplanck, and nearly everyone in town drives one. So no one finds it unusual when a yellow Yugo is seen floating in the river, though seeing someone trapped inside is out of the ordinary. Verplanck's chief of police, Wyatt Rash (Danny De Vito), discovers that the deceased driver was a prominent local citizen, Mona Dearly (Bette Midler), and the evidence suggests that Mona's death was no accident. But the investigation into Mona's murder is hampered by one rather significant detail: nearly everyone in town hated Mona and wanted her dead. She alienated her son Jeff (Marcus Thomas) and his business partner Bobby (Casey Affleck). Bobby's girlfriend Ellen (Neve Campbell) (who is also Rash's daughter) is convinced that Mona would have tried to drive a wedge into their relationship. Mona's husband Phil (William Fichtner) couldn't stand her and fell into an affair with Rona (Jamie Lee Curtis), the waitress at the local diner. And even Rash's sidekick, Deputy Feege (Peter Dobson), spent too much time on the wrong end of Mona's temper to care that she's dead. Before long, the question is no longer who is a suspect, but who isn't? Drowning Mona was directed by Nick Gomez, who earned positive notices for his independent films New Jersey Drive and Illtown.
PG-13 (adult situations/language, sex)
Comedy , Drama
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Danny DeVito
as Chief Rash
Bette Midler
as Mona Dearly
William Fichtner
as Phil Dearly
Marcus Thomas
as Jeff Dearly
Tracey Walter
as Clarence
Paul Ben-Victor
as Tony Carlucci
Paul Schulze
as Jimmy D.
Raymond O'Connor
as Father Tom
Lisa Rieffel
as Valerie
Robert Arce
as Doctor Schwartz
Brittany Peterson
as Marla Lasala
Philip Perlman
as Motel Cashier
Yul Vázquez
as French Instructor
as Peaches
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Critic Reviews for Drowning Mona

All Critics (76) | Top Critics (24)

The cars are the funniest thing in the movie. And really, they're not all that funny.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Detroit News
Top Critic

Too bland to be repulsive.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Once you sit through the rest of this comedic approximation of a soak in pond scum, you may wish you had joined her in the Hudson River.

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

Drowning Mona is a funny comedy for about 90 seconds.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Sitting in the theater watching this crap, it's impossible not to wonder why one bothered to go at all.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Top Critic

Mona, a screenplay dripping with contempt, gives its cast enough rope and enough bad jokes to make you feel seriously sorry for all of them.

December 31, 1999
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Drowning Mona


Borrows a lot from drawing room/dinner theater mysteries because everyone but everyone wants to see the victim dead ... and transports the action to some po-dunk upstate New York town. Alas the scenery change - nor the sad Yugo as the victim of countless sad jokes - can jump start the inertia felt here.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

uummm not to shore whether this was good or not really it was vaguly amusing but not much of a story i guess different people have different taste !! give it a go !

Film Crazy
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

This dark, tasteless, and cynical comedy is funny as hell, although the suggestively violent segments may repel mainstream viewers. It's a warped murder mystery involving a roster of nitwit suspects so hilariously feeble-minded that they can't help but look guilty... particularly since everybody in the entire hamlet of Verplanck, New York, loathed the victim. Peter Steinfeld aptly calls his script a "white-trash Murder on the Orient Express."

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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