The Other Woman film review
The Other Woman (2014)
Cameron Diaz, Kate Upton, Taylor Kinney, Leslie Mann, Nicki Minaj, Nickolaj Coster-Waldau
Melissa K. Stack
20th Century Fox
CRITIC’S RATING: * star (out of 4 stars)
In the diva-minded dreck The Other Woman others will have their share of fury besides the silly sasses being scorned in this clunky comedy concerning cheating affairs of the heart. Woefully inert and indigestible, the hollow high heels hilarity that ensues in filmmaker Nick Cassavetes’s cheeky chick flick is as thinly cosmetic as it is relentlessly clueless. Whatever female empowerment vibes this estrogen-driven dud tries to convey in its farcical frenzy it completely misses the mark.
Indeed, The Other Woman is decisively dismissive and should serve as an embarrassment regardless of what gender is being exposed to this woefully flimsy laugher. Shamelessly, The Other Woman beats to death the familiar formula of womanly despair in love and loss courtesy of a charmless sex comedy whose puckered lips are seriously chapped at best. Dispiriting and drowsy, The Other Woman feels hopelessly trivial especially in comparison to other lipstick lunacy vehicles that tried to gain kooky credibility with this “Lothario done her wrong” gimmick in such previous infidelity entries as 2006’s John Tucker Must Die or even 1996’s middle-aged galpal romp The First Wives Club. At least these films had a sense of inspired quirkiness and subversive edginess. However, The Other Woman arbitrarily relies on scatterbrained laziness and unfocused mean-spirited mockery to deliver its strained and nonsensical chuckles.
The Other Woman lead star Cameron Diaz, who is a veteran of countless romantic/sex comedies that range from the critically acclaimed and underrated In Her Shoes (2005) to insufferable fare as What Happens in Vegas (2008), portrays a hardened New York attorney named Carly Whitten. Personally, Carly seemed to have finally found love with handsome hotshot businessman Mark King (Nickolaj Coster-Waldau, “Game of Thrones”). Both Carly and Mark have a fallout in their steamy relationship but this soon will be followed up by a shocking revelation when Carly discovers that her loving boytoy has a wife at home in the form of Kate (Leslie Mann, filmmaker Judd Apatow’s leading lady in some of his films and real-life wife). By nature Kate is sweet and gently screwy but it is quite obvious how hurt she is by Mark’s indiscretions with Carly. In fact, both women gradually bond over Mark’s carnal indiscretions and create a sisterhood that entails alcohol, partaking in grown-up makeover sessions and an occasional bout with self-pity acknowledgements.
Soon, Carly and Kate’s duo act will become a trio when another Mark-owned piece of female flesh that he has philandered with in vivacious Amber (Sports Illustrated pin-up model Kate Upton) joins the bombshell bee’s nest to see if they all can put a major sting into their roguish serial cheater that has made a fool out of each one of them. In other words, the wounded skirts are going to see to it that Mark’s overactive zipper retires for good but not before they make him pay the price through what they’re concocting for this wretched Romeo.
The slapstick in The Other Woman feels flat and tired. In addition to Cassavetes’s slapdish direction, screenwriter Melissa K. Stack’s sluggish imagination for her curvaceous cohorts includes uninspired bathroom gags, goofball grossness and the cliched coloring of cad-like behavior in distrustful men. One would not mind if The Other Woman took its sense of male bashing and female disillusionment to a naughty level of constructive cynicism where the satirical observation about the emotional manipulation between the sexes had a delicious nasty streak behind its catty humor. Unfortunately, the film is too rancid and juvenile to realize what potential it had in solidly shining the spotlight on the objectification of unsuspecting women. Instead, Stack’s spotty script showcases three brainless babes reacting like silly-minded sorority sisters in the way they approach what an egotistical himbo perpetuated against them. Why can’t these women exact their revenge without the idiocy of foolish intoxication and petty-minded antics? In watching Carly, Kate and Amber carry on like adolescent ninnies you almost feel sorry for poor Mark as you might want to excuse his boorish behavior just to chastise these dimwitted dames. It is quite inexcusable how a female can pen such a doltish display of reckless womanly caricatures.
There is not much to consider when assessing the pointless significance of The Other Woman without being aghast by the conceived monotonous material. For what it is worth the three main performers in Diaz, Mann and Upton do instill some zany bounciness in their other wise thankless roles. As the resident bed-hopping studmuffin, Coster-Waldau does his job sufficiently as the bad boy eye-candy the ladies can crave and cuss out in the same breath. The additional presence of musical enigma Nicki Minaj being thrown into the mix almost feels like a pop cultural casting stunt…much like what Tyler Perry did when he threw in Kim Kardashian for his dismal drama Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor.
In short some fodder concerning male chauvinism, defecating dogs (yes, the film’s nod toward animal cruelty hijinks), misused laxatives, extramarital affairs and faithful brokenhearted women are nothing to laugh at in jest…and apparently so is the incongruous insanity in The Other Woman.
NOTE: Focus of New York film critic Frank Ochieng is a member of: