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Somewhere, there probably are people like Mona Dearly (Bette Midler). Apparently the whole community of Verplanck NY despises her. So when her Yugo mysteriously drives off the road and plunges into the river, local police Chief Wyatt Rash (Danny DeVito) knows he'll have a long list of suspects to pick from -- a list that could even include himself.
The Chief begins with the most obvious suspects. First, there are Mona's husband Phil (William Fichtner), and their one-handed son Jeff (Marcus Thomas). Next are Jeff's business partner Bobby (Casey Affleck), and Bobby's fianc0xE9e, who is also the Chief's daughter, Ellen (Neve Campbell). And of course Rona (Jamie Lee Curtis), a waitress at the local diner who is romantically involved with Mona's family.
As we follow Chief Rash's investigation, we see flashbacks of their relationships with Mona (after all, the studio didn't pay Midler so she could simply drive off a cliff...). Getting to know these people made me wonder who drove whom crazy? Was Mona always this arrogant and uncontrollably angry, or is it the result of spending too much time with these imbeciles.
Language matches the on-screen intelligence, with many obscenities throughout the script. In addition to Mona's death and another murder, an extended scene depicts the speculations of three dimwitted members of the town's police force regarding Jeff's missing hand.
There is more deviant behavior than Yugo's in this movie (Verplanck was a supposed test community for the infamous car). Often the characters are depicted half-drunk, the rest of the time they are drinking. An incredible effort has been made to fit sexual remarks and content into the script, such as the sexual games played by motel guests, a mortician that moonlights as a pornography photographer, and two female characters kissing. And through a carefully contrived conclusion, even Chief Rash is hardly a model of police honesty.
The only good news is the unlikely event that teens will be running to the box office for this film, which is drowning in bad attitudes and dysfunctional role models.
Drowning Mona is rated PG-13: for some thematic elements, language and brief sexuality
Cast: Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis
Studio: (pictures (c)2000 Destination Films)