By Jess Lomas
April 9, 2014
Attempting to prove that friendship lurks in even the most unexpected places, Nick Cassavetes‘ The Other Woman fails to deliver a strong female comedy in the vein of Bridesmaids. Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz), a New York City lawyer with a long list of exes and strict rules about dating, seems to have finally stumbled on a decent guy, Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). She opens herself up to love only to discover the man of her dreams is already married to the manic but sweet Kate (Leslie Mann).
When the truth about Mark is revealed, Carly is alarmed to find Kate reaching out to her for help and companionship, and is even more startled when she finds herself reaching back. The plot thickens when the two women discover Mark has another mistress, the much-younger Amber (Kate Upton), who soon joins Carly and Kate on their revenge mission to bring the serial adulterer down. Along the way, a half-hearted love story develops between Carly and Kate’s “hunky” brother Phil (Taylor Kinney), a contractor who has charm but zero chemistry on screen with the overly eager Diaz. Their narrative is entirely predictable and unsatisfying, much like the second half of the picture.
While The Other Woman starts off strong and delivers a basket of sight gags and gross-out jokes to rival any male-centric comedy, it quickly loses steam and sight of its goal. Producer Julie Yorn reportedly envisioned the feature as a relationship story between the women instead of a romantic interest, and screenwriter Melissa Stack didn’t want her characters to succumb to stereotypes, such as the ‘bitchy mistress’ or the ‘weak wife’. Yorn’s vision is fulfilled, and while the various montages set to ’80s songs deflates the otherwise sweet story of unexpected female friendship, on the whole the film delivers a fresh perspective. Stack’s vision, however, although successful in delivering a strong wife and sympathetic girlfriend in Carly in Kate, drops the ball when it comes to the ditzy, big-bosomed Amber. She is the weakest link, and it’s hard to know what came first: Upton or the bad role.
The flick thrives on Mann’s performance alone, even if this too dissipates during the runtime. The Other Woman is an at-times playful and rollicking revenge comedy but at others it surrenders to genre boundaries, and your level of enjoyment may just depend on how much of your brain you’re willing to turn off.
The Other Woman arrives in Australian cinemas April 17, 2014.