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Redneck Mystery Theater

Sneeringly funny Drowning Mona sleuths around backwater America

Trailer trashing: Bette Midler's abrasive character causes headaches for Danny DeVito and Casey Affleck.
Peter Sorel
Trailer trashing: Bette Midler's abrasive character causes headaches for Danny DeVito and Casey Affleck.

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Rated PG-13.

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. 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 has 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.

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