The Other Woman Review
Posted by Terry Lewis on 04.25.2014
Cameron Diaz aims to conquer the female audience market again with adulterer hating comedy The Other Woman. But does her team up with Leslie Mann and model Kate Upton inspire girl power? Or are we looking at another overrated lady comedy like Bridesmaids? 411's Terry Lewis finds out.
Cameron Diaz - Carly Whitten Leslie Mann - Kate King Kate Upton - Amber Nikolaj Coster-Waldau - Mark King Nicki Minaj - Lydia Taylor Kinney - Phil Don Johnson - Frank
I like how some hot actors and actresses of past decades try and reinvent themselves to keep up with modern trends. Take Cameron Diaz for example - she's been about all the genres the last few years but now has struck gold and cinemagoers attention again by appearing in a healthy stream of comedies. Reuniting again with The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes, the two give a go at bringing the comedy against those damn serial cheating men in The Other Woman.
Carly (Diaz, The Counselor) is a NYC lawyer who plays the field with guys but decides to give it a go with start up business mogul Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game Of Thrones) as her one boyfriend, but alas her plans go awry when she finds out he has a wife in Kate (Leslie Mann, This Is 40). The two women bond and realise they have a lot in common after Kate gets over her initial hatred. When the two find out he's been cheating on them with another girl Amber (Modelling superstar Kate Upton), the three ladies put their heads together to concoct the ultimate revenge plan against three timing Mark.
Diaz is quite good as the powerful, proud of herself independent lawyer whose tired of going through the ringer with guys who aren't on her level and simply wants to find that one decent guy. Not a bad character arc truth be told and I did dig her motivations & reasoning she dishes out to Kate in the early parts of the film when they're discussing her affair with Mark. What works well is the instant dropping of Mark when Carly realises she's seeing a married man because she doesn't do it. Mann is given the opportunity to show off a whole new dimension to her mother / housewife routine as the straight, stay at home wife whose in her own little world and the cheating husband revelation brings her world crumbling down. As her new friends encourage her to stand on her own two feet though, Mann draws you in with an awesome sympathetic yet hilarious performance and plays off quite well against and with the more straighter Diaz.
Away from the main two actresses, The Other Woman is a weird mixed bag in terms of casting. Upton is literally just a pretty face and a rack to shove in. Sorry to come across as sexist but that is precisely her role in the film. Okay, she has one or two funny lines and can do a great dorky face on command, but that's all she does and the film freely admits to her bringing up the group average of attractiveness. I feel like Upton was added because they were afraid the film couldn't really get over with just the comedy act of Diaz and Mann. Shame because they kept me interested all the way through. Same for music A-lister Nicki Minaj. Couple of wise cracks and an excuse to show off her simply ridiculous curves and butt in a secretary outfit. Feels like a waste bringing them in really. Don Johnson of Miami Vice actually is a nice cameo as Carly's dad and has the best zinger in the whole movie. Same can't be said for Taylor Kinney (Chicago Fire) whose sole excuse to be here is because he looks a bit like Channing Tatum and Taylor Kitsch - a bit of eye candy for the lady audience members. Coster-Waldau is just alright. He excels at being the douche cheating man but when it comes to reasoning he doesn't quite get it over the line in terms of convincing you why he did it.
The Other Woman really excels with it's machine gun pace of one liners as part of a witty script and cute sister-bonding moments. There is actually quite a lot of great comedic timing from all involved, with some suitably pace gags. There's some quite brave ones which show off a new side to some involved, especially the scene where Cameron Diaz is thrown from an upstairs window to prevent Mark from seeing her with Kate. There's some nice black comedy in the sense that Jamie Lannister from Game Of Thrones is being screwed over by three women after his womanising & incest ways and also there's some comeuppance when he gets turned over by a conspiracy after being involved in plenty of them himself. In places, I'd go as far to say that this is better than Bridesmaids with a better, welcoming flow, compared to 'Maids in your face, lady Hangover attitude.
Then again, there's some places where the slapstick comedy lets itself down by being the same tired routine. The slipping of laxative into someone's drink as revenge I've seen before and is rather old hat. The big nipples Mark develops from taking Estrogen pills is a cute visual but the joke dies quickly. Walking into glass twice at the end seems ludicrous more than anything else and actually takes away from the impact of our trio of heroines kicking that damn man to the curb. Actually, for a film about the revenge, The Other Woman lets itself down for Kate still pining for him close to the end in a really disruptive awkward bump to her arc. After finding out Mark is a complete douchebag for setting up numerous companies under her name to divert his invester's money in case they bomb, Kate still holds feelings for him. It's fairly natural and human nature of course to still have some feelings but after cheating on her multiple times and setting her up for a potential fall, I don't see how Kate could save any goodwill towards Mark at all.
The film definitely loses it's way towards the end with some plots and arguments being pulled out of the hat and resolved in honestly two minutes. Kate and Carly fall out close to the end for 30 seconds runtime in three scenes and it doesn't add anything to the film whatsoever. I kinda expected better from Cassavetes whose made his name with strong female led character films like The Notebook and My Sister's Keeper. He can do so much better than this filler rubbish. A bit of a distraction too is how "cinematic" this feels. There's not one point where I felt The Other Woman had a foot in reality. Sure, it is meant to be a charming bit of escapism but at the same time I was wondering how the hell things like this would get away in the real world. How does Carly balance being a lawyer yet manages to join Kate on her numerous stalking missions, for example? It's off in it's own plastic, un-enterable world.
The 411: Given his track record, I feel The Other Woman is a tad disappointing for a director like Cassavetes. I can see the appeal here for him to try a female orientated comedy and in places it works, but it doesn't feel grounded or real at all. There's some pointless characters and it's not a stellar cast performance, on top of some old hat gags. For a film though to sit down and watch with a female friend or girlfriend, you can certainly do a whole lot worse. The script and the comedy performances save this one and for me, it's a Bridesmaids beater.