Review: The Other Woman
PLOT: Carly (Cameron Diaz) – a high-powered lawyer, is shocked to discover that her perfect new boyfriend, Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is married. She soon starts an unlikely friendship with Mark’s ditzy wife, Kate (Leslie Mann) and when they discover that he has yet another mistress, the young and gorgeous Amber (Kate Upton), they decide to teach him a lesson once and for all.
REVIEW: THE OTHER WOMAN is a chick flick, through-and-through. That’s not inherently a bad thing. There have been plenty of decent chick flicks over the years, including THE OTHER WOMAN director Nick Cassavetes’ own THE NOTEBOOK. Clearly, THE OTHER WOMAN aspires to be more of a BRIDESMAIDS-styled chick flick than a Katherine Heigl-ish one, but after a promising start THE OTHER WOMAN goes off-the-rails and winds up just another disposable “cute” comedy that will likely only please the most undemanding viewers.
It feels like somewhere along the way THE OTHER WOMAN was compromised by a studio looking for generic fluff. The first act of the film is surprisingly decent, with Cassavetes taking his time setting up the burgeoning friendship between Diaz and Mann. Both actresses are in top-form, with Mann particularly good as the scatter-brained Kate, who explains to her husband early-on that she needs to go to “brain camp”, while blissfully unaware of her cheating spouse’s obvious affairs. She never even questions his apartment in the city or weekend getaways without her. While it may seem unlikely that a wife and mistress could ever become BFF’s, Diaz and Mann make it work. An early scene where the two get drunk together and have a surprisingly candid and funny talk about female grooming suggests that this was originally intended to be a much edgier film before being shoehorned into a PG-13.
Sadly, once the gals start stalking Mark, and discover that he’s seeing the drop-dead gorgeous Amber (Upton), the film turns into your standard studio comedy with big broad jokes that mostly fall flat. What’s especially odd is how Cassavetes avoids standard chick-flick clichés – such as a pop-song filled soundtrack – in the first half, but then wholeheartedly embraces them to a ludicrous degree in the second half. It almost feels like another director took over once Kate and Carly start following Mark around while the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE theme plays on the soundtrack.
However, even in the weak second half of THE OTHER WOMAN, there are a few saving graces. For one thing, it’s nice that Upton, as the nubile young mistress is portrayed as a nice, if daffy young woman. Upton doesn’t have too much to do here other than occasionally sport a bikini (no complaints) and act innocent, so it’s probably a little too early to say whether or not she has much of a future in acting. It’s a light role, but she’s fine.
The other, major saving grace is an extended cameo by the one and only Don Johnson, who pops up as Carly’s five-times divorced father. He only has three-scenes, but he makes the most of them. The ending suggests Cassavetes has a soft-spot for Johnson, and his one quick scene with Coster-Waldau’s ludicrously scummy Mark (who makes Jaime Lannister seem like a mensch) is the most satisfying part of the movie, along with his epilogue which will likely elicit cheers from the guys lured to the theater by Upton’s presence.
As it is, THE OTHER WOMAN isn’t that bad as far as your generic studio chick flicks go, but it’s nowhere near as good a film as Cassavetes and his cast seemed to be intending to make. Whether or not this should be chalked up to studio interference or something else is a question mark. While a certain crowd will probably like this regardless, it’s overall a fairly disposable comedy and nothing you haven’t seen done a thousand times before. Everyone involved (especially Mann) deserves better.