Movie review: ‘The Other Woman’ is too predictable and outrageous
Let’s pretend that I didn’t actually see this movie, that I only heard about it. And let’s say that what I heard is that it has some very funny parts, and that every actor plays his or her character for all it’s worth. Just that little bit of information would get me interested.
OK, I did indeed see it, and those factors are true. Too bad that I didn’t also hear about the story’s unrelenting implausibility, the unnecessarily long running time, and the preponderance of … oh, my, what’s the best way to put this … poop jokes.
“The Other Woman” which, for reasons that will be explained shortly, should be called “The Other Women,” is a far-too-calculated, fairly surprise-free, supposedly outrageous comedy that throws together characters who in real life would never give each other the time of day. The film asks us to go on their journey of bliss turned to deception turned to revenge, but its makers don’t seem very concerned that none of it makes any sense.
Kate (Leslie Mann) and Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – “Game of Thrones” fans know him as the King Slayer), have a happy, well-off New York life. But Mark, who makes scads of dough by investing in fake startup companies, is also having a happy and wild fling with high-powered lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz). Kate has no clue of the affair. Carly doesn’t know that he’s married. Kate is sweet and ditzy and clueless to the ways of the world. Carly is tough and sharp and, for once, content with dating just one guy. Mark is a total cad. He’s also sloppy. I mean, why would his mistress know his home address, where she can just pop up one day in the skimpiest of outfits, and have the door answered by his wife?
Cut to the premise: Both women find out they’ve been lied to. Both decide, after an extended, overplayed scenario in which they morph from rivals to friends, to get even with the guy. Both discover that – and here’s why the title is inaccurate – there’s a third woman: the buxom and brainless Carly (Kate Upton). Yeah, the guy is cheating on his wife and on his mistress. So this all turns into a three-on-one revenge story.
The funny moments are almost exclusively due to Leslie Mann’s gift for being able to spew out bursts of wildly up and down emotional dialogue along with a dose of physical comedy – and Diaz shows that she knows how to take a convincing pratfall or two, as does Coster-Waldau.
But there’s so much that doesn’t work, starting with the script having the feeling that it’s being stretched out, that entire scenes and characters could be eliminated without affecting the story. We really don’t need another movie with diarrhea jokes. Any yucks that come from the presence of a great Dane that just keeps getting in the way are marginal at best. Carly has an assistant in her office (Nicki Minaj) who dresses to kill but is only around to make wisecracks that are disguised as good advice, but only drag things down. And there’s Don Johnson, playing Carly’s rich and randy dad, whose purpose in the film doesn’t go beyond being there so audience members who are old enough will point at the screen and say, “Look! Don Johnson!”
Not distracting enough? The pop songs on the soundtrack should do the trick. When our heroines start spying on Mark and his activities, we get the theme from “Mission: Impossible.” When the trio gets into juvenile revenge mode, they do so to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” When the action sweeps out into the streets of Manhattan, Sinatra is belting out “New York, New York.” Really, how blatantly obvious can you get?
In the end, there’s comeuppance, in the exact form that anyone who’s seen any film even somewhat similar to this one will be expecting … OK, with a little additional slapstick. But despite all of the movie’s errant ways, credit’s got to go to whoever came up with the nonsensical but funny line of dialogue uttered by one of the characters: “When I get this feeling I’m usually always right.”
Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.
THE OTHER WOMAN Written by Melissa Stack; directed by Nick Cassavetes With Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kate Upton, Don Johnson Rated PG-13