Review by Derrick Carter
Running Time: 1 hour 49 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for Mature Thematic Material, Sexual References and Language
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Written by: Melissa Stack
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nicki Minaj, Nikola Coster-Waldau, Taylor Kinney, Olivia Culpo, Madison McKinley & Don Johnson
Guys get dragged into seeing chick flicks with their girlfriend. It’s a fact of life and one that should be learned early on. As I see it there are three different kinds of chick flicks, there are the authentically romantic sweep-you-off-your-feet award-worthy movies (these are rare), clichéd by-the-numbers overly-cheesy formula films (e.g. nearly everything involving the name Nicholas Sparks) or relatively harmless rom-coms that might be just as enjoyable for the guys as they are for the ladies. THE OTHER WOMAN is the like a hybrid combination of the second and third. It’s a predictable flick with a few halfway decent laughs. This is a harmless little date movie that will be forgotten in a matter of hours.
Carly (Cameron Diaz) has fallen head over heels for the dashing Mark. The two hit it off and their relationship is chugging along at a fast speed. Mark seems like a nice guy any way you slice it, but Carly makes a shocking discovery when she pays a would-be surprise visit to her supposedly perfect boyfriend’s house. He’s married and Kate, his naïve wife, has put two and two together. Forming an unlikely friendship, Carly and Kate spy on Mark, all while plotting an intricate revenge to make this cheater’s life a living hell. This also enlists the help of another of Mark’s flings. It’s a story of three determined women getting revenge on the scumbag wronged them all.
THE OTHER WOMAN has some issues in the focus of the plot. There are attempts to form a love interest between Carly and Phil (Kate’s brother), but these are regulated toward a few spots in the middle and a scene that goes by so quickly in the last third that if you blink, then you’ll likely miss it. The girl power idea is something to be admired, but it takes a very long time getting up to that point in the film. A good portion (nearly half) was centered around Carly and Kate bonding, before getting onto the second mistress (third woman) that has already been revealed in all the marketing.
The acts of revenge contain a few funny moments (one of which was done far better in DUMB AND DUMBER), but there’s an identity crisis concerning a lengthy scene near the conclusion. Everything in the film is played with a bouncy “don’t take it seriously” vibe. There’s one sequence, before the grand finale, that tries to have dramatic weight to it and flops hard. It was a huge tonal shift that didn’t jive well with the light-hearted comedy that had been so prevalent for the entire film. This was the biggest fault in the movie and likely where most guys will be rolling their eyes (I certainly was), but then things get right back to the goofy nature that made things passable start with.
As headliners, Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann are playing a combination of characters they’ve already played in the past. Diaz has a sense of sarcasm seen in her BAD TEACHER role, but also a normal human being seen in THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. Meanwhile, Leslie Mann is her character from KNOCKED UP and THIS IS 40 that just happened to wander into a different movie. This is Katie Upton’s first real headlining movie role (her stint in THREE STOOGES doesn’t count) and she does a decent enough job with the material handed to her. She plays the dunce (as Cameron Diaz refers to her as the Boobs) and got a few chuckles out of me with some of the silly lines she was handed.
Of all people, Don Johnson also appears in a few scenes as Diaz’s character’s father which was a little strange to say the least, but he’s always a welcome screen presence. As for the three-timing asshole Mark, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is enjoyable as the ever so deserving victim. It’s Diaz and Mann who don’t seem to be really trying to get solid laughs. Mann saying the same things over and more anxiously did get a lot of laughs out of the auditorium I was in, but I’m not sold on that being a trait of true comedy.
Too often, THE OTHER WOMAN relies on the overly predictable plot or dusty jokes that have been seen many times before. There are legitimate laughs here and there, but nothing special. This is a shame given the two main actresses having a knack for being very funny in certain roles. The film also has a severe pacing problem and was far too long for its own good. I could see 90 minutes with this premise working out fine, but 109 minutes is really pushing it. This is especially true when the film forgets supposedly important plot threads in favor of utterly pointless scenes of the three spurned women partying.
As far as chick flicks that men will be forced to see with their significant others go, THE OTHER WOMAN isn’t bad. It’s tolerable and that’s about the biggest compliment I can give it. The lesser name cast members seemed to be trying a lot harder than the two well-known actresses phoning it in. There are funny scenes to be had, but they drown in a sea of tedium and clichés. It’s not terrible, but THE OTHER WOMAN will probably disappear from your memories in a couple of days time. So-so at best.