Drowning Mona

Directed by Nick Gomez

With projects as focused as this and the sweetly sung Living Out Loud, DeVito keeps establishing himself as an actor of unassuming gravity. Here, his work is particularly convincing, especially in contrast to Affleck's. The young dude puts in some wry twists and indulges in a very funny flare-up, but his mush-mouthed delivery quickly grows tedious. Still, even his bewildered squire seems undeserving of the abrupt and vicious threat that Rash eventually lays on him. Anyone who's ever tangled with a mawkish girlfriend's insane daddy will tell you exactly how funny that scene isn't. Perhaps that's why, overall, Drowning Mona scores its other chuckles so well: Its trite trash feels authentic enough to make one squirm.

William Fichtner, Bette Midler and Marcus Thomas in Drowning Mona, which walks a careful line between mean-spirited mockery and affectionate imitation
William Fichtner, Bette Midler and Marcus Thomas in Drowning Mona, which walks a careful line between mean-spirited mockery and affectionate imitation

Opens March 3.

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