THE OTHER WOMAN

THE OTHER WOMAN

By Gary Murray

Starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton

Written by Melissa Stack

Directed by Nick Cassavetes

Running time 109 min

MPAA Rating PG-13

Selig Film Rating Cable

 

The romantic comedy has been taking many hits over the last few years and seems to be that boxer on the ropes that just shouldn’t get up.  Admission, The To-Do List and Don Juan were all put out in 2013 and hit the cinematic canvas with a thud.  So to get the ladies into the comfy seats of the Cineplex, the powers that be in Hollywood have decided to go the other direction.  The anti-man revenge flick seems to be the answer.  The Other Woman tries to fill up this genre.

The story starts with Carly (Cameron Diaz).  She is a NYC attorney who thinks she has met the perfect man with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).  He is a high-end investor who drives the perfect car and wears the perfect clothing.  After they have been dating for a few months, she decides to surprise him at his Connecticut house.

At the house, Carly discovers Mark’s big secret, Kate the wife.  Played by Leslie Mann, Kate is shocked by the realization that her husband has been unfaithful.  This revelation starts a downward spiral for Kate.  She has nowhere to turn and has invested her entire life into her husband.

After Carly cuts off Mark, Kate starts popping up in her life.  Kate is trying to make sense out of everything and only Carly is the person she can talk with.  They form an un-common bond which eventually builds into an unsteady friendship.  Through a series of circumstances, the two women discover that Mark has another mistress Amber (Kate Upton).

After the beginning bumpy introductions, the three women bond over a few bottles of booze and decide to get even with Mark.  The plot to get back at the triple cheater is the story of The Other Woman.

The real problem with the film comes to a head in the 3rd act.  Once the girls decide to destroy the cheater, all of their ways to get back at him become very juvenile exercises.  Like a bunch of 8th graders, they do ‘bad girls’ style tricks against this cad that never really build to anything. 

Writer Melissa Stack has decided that the best way to get back is to be silly.  One expects a giant con like something out of The Sting and gets something along the lines of schoolgirl pranks.  While some of the stunts generate a few laughs, they are the kind that make one feel guilty after laughing at them.  It is a weakly structured screenplay. 

The other problem is that none of the female characters come across as particularly smart.  Carly is supposed to be some Manhattan lawyer and Kate a brilliant inventor, but neither seems to have more than three working brain cells between them.  

Leslie Mann is truly the only reason to see this film.  She has been doing great work in small roles for the last few years and with The Other Woman, she gets the chance to shine.  Time and time again, Leslie delivers a comic punch along the lines of an Ali putting stars into the eyes of her co-stars.  She is scatterbrained but endearing with a heart as big as the planet.  It is the kind of performance that makes one wonder why she isn’t the biggest comic star.

Cameron Diaz can still wear stunning clothes but her best days are definitely behind her.  On more than one occasion in the film, she comes across as tired and dreary.  There is little spark in her role and little comedy in her acting.  She just reacts to the much superior Leslie Mann as the ‘straight-man’ woman.  It is the weakest performance that has the greatest expectations. 

Surprisingly the second strongest role is done by Nicki Minaj as secretary Lydia.  Her character is whip-smart and brutal, playing a stereotypical character as if it were just invented.  She is a breath of fresh air in this stale tale that we have seen 100’s of times before.  Another surprise is Don Johnson as Frank, Carly’s father.  Although he only gets a few scenes, he comes across with an easy charm and strong demeanor.  It is great to seem him on the big screen. 

And for those who are wondering, Kate Upton is exactly like Bo Derek in 10.  She is just there to be pretty–which she does in spades.

The film is directed by Nick Cassavetes, the man behind Alpha Dog and The Notebook.  While he does a good job with the pacing of this film, he really doesn’t have much to work with in terms of script.  This direction feels like a job for hire, something to pay the bills until a project he wants to do will come along.  Though, he does capture NYC in a romantic light. 

The Other Woman will please its intended audience, females who do not want to suffer through another bout of testosterone driven action super hero flicks that will invade the box office.  It is counter programming, not a must-see event. 

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