‘The Other Woman’ Review

Published 6 months ago by , Updated October 7th, 2014 at 1:31 am,

Cameron Diaz Kate Upton and Leslie Mann in The Other Woman 2014 The Other Woman Review

The Other Woman is a semi-successful femme comedy showcase hampered by its own rom-com conventions, which undercut any real intelligent or insightful thematic messages.

In The Other Woman, we meet attorney Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz), a powerhouse career gal who can never invest in relationships – that is until she meets her perfect match in Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). However, when Carly tries to surprise Mark with a kinky late-night visit, she’s the one who instead gets a surprise: Mark has a wife named Kate (Leslie Mann).

At first the meeting is incredibly awkward and horrifying, but plucky Kate can’t help but admire the other woman in her husband’s life, and the two quickly become “the weirdest friends, ever.” Once united, the ladies set their sights on payback against Mark; but as the dig deeper they find more lies and more mistresses – like the voluptuous Amber (Kate Upton) – hiding in the wings. Determined to bring down the man who has been stringing them along, Carly, Kate and Amber scheme to pull off a takedown for the ages – if their girl power can just withstand a bad boy’s charm long enough.

The Other Woman 2014 Reviews The Other Woman Review

On the surface, The Other Woman seems like a traditional rom-com movie with a girl power slant – and in a lot of ways it attempts to be. However, thanks to director Nick Cassavetes and a great comedic performance from Leslie Mann (with some welcome aid from her co-stars) the movie actually manages to be more memorable and entertaining than it is on paper, despite a script that doesn’t hold up as a feminist parable.

Cassavetes – in addition to his many acting roles – is known for an eclectic blend of movies – many of which achieve some kind of cult status (The Notebook, John Q, Alpha Dog). The Other Woman is his most comedic effort to date, but Cassavetes definitely has the mind and eye for good comedy, staging a variety of scenes that use everything from wordplay to physical comedy and even montages in order to create a consistent air of hilarity. Because it’s Cassavetes (who is not afraid to push into some explicit or even gory areas) there is an edge that is deftly wielded to create moments of raunchy or adult humor which actually cut the funny bone deep, while still managing to teeter on the safe side of a PG-13 rating. The look of the film – and the creation of its NYC socialite world – is all lavish and colorful and well-staged. In other words, the movie is easy to watch.

Nikolaj Coster Waldau in The Other Woman 2014 The Other Woman Review

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in ‘The Other Woman’

The more problematic end of the film is undoubtedly the script from first-timer Melissa Stack – the latest writer plucked from Hollywood’s “Black List” of the best screenplays yet to be produced (she was on there in 2007 for a script called I Want to F— Your Sister, just so you have some reference). The dialogue and comedy are sharp, and conceptually the story is a nice twist on the idea of the wife vs. mistress drama cliché; however, narratively and thematically, the movie tries to make a point it cannot earn.

This is a movie which attempts to posit that three lovely, capable women being united in infatuation over one man is somehow a story of empowerment. It’s an admirable claim, but one that could easily be challenged – if not outright defeated – based on the events of the film, the characters’ thin, archetypal personalities and their questionable actions. Much like Amber, The Other Woman is nice to look at and is fun to be around – but it doesn’t have all that much going on in the smarts department. It’s never a good sign when one of your characters can reduce the situation to being an event where “The lawyer, the wife and the boobs,” all get together for one purpose.

Leslie Mann in The Other Woman 2014 The Other Woman Review

Leslie Mann in ‘The Other Woman’

Equally true is the observation that if you were to take Leslie Mann out of this film, its fun quotient would drop exponentially. Mann has been on a tear of comedic roles (The Change-Up, This Is 40) but this may be her best work yet. She steals nearly every scene she’s in and goes for comedic broke, and her character probably has the best arc of the film, displaying moments (if only sporadic) of vulnerability and serious adult complexity, in order to balance out her zany goofiness. Cameron Diaz brings that Bad Teacher edge to her icy career gal, and serves as a surprisingly good straight woman to Mann’s wacky character. The two leading ladies are actually great together, displaying chemistry, timing and commitment that make the Kate/Carly storyline genuinely fun and interesting to watch.

Although men are the focal point of the story at every turn (irony), the boys in the cast are not major players in the film. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau basically phones in his Jaime Lannister Game of Thrones swagger, creating the sort of ‘bad boy you love to hate’ that is necessary for this story. Chicago Fire star Taylor Kinney has to play Phil, the hunky cool brother to Mann’s Kate, and provides the necessary smoldering hunky stares (though, as pointed out by Kate, the love story between Phil and Carly is weird in the context of this story). Meanwhile, Don Johnson shows up two steal a scene or two as Carly’s lovable louse of a father.

Leslie Mann Nicki Minaj Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton in The Ohter Woman 2014 The Other Woman Review

Leslie Mann, Nicki Minaj, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton in ‘The Other Woman’

The biggest casting talking point is how pop-culture sensations Kate Upton and Nicki Minaj do in their first major screen roles. Upton’s part is tailored to make the best of her limited range (lots of simple sight gags, very little dialogue or heavy emoting); meanwhile, Minaj plays a fitting-but-typical sassy girlfriend role, and really needs to work on enunciating her lines (at times it’s like trying to read a ventriloquist’s lips). Having the pair of them in the cast is somewhat distracting, and The Other Woman is already bogged down with secondary characters and storylines, so it’s good that Upton and Minaj’s screen time is limited. Little doses go a long way in their case.

In the end, The Other Woman is a semi-successful femme comedy showcase hampered by its own rom-com conventions, which undercut any real intelligent or insightful thematic messages, feminist or otherwise. Still, the Leslie Mann comedy showcase is alone worth watching, and her and Diaz manage to make a frenemy love story that’s nearly  as worthwhile. It’s not at all mandatory theater viewing, but as far as date night goes, both guys and gals will find themselves in pretty good hands with this one.

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The Other Womanis now in theaters. It is 109 minutes long and is Rated PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language.

Follow me and talk movies @ppnkof

Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

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19 Comments

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  1. My title for this movie: The way white people is.
    As if one of them being a woc would change the plot, and the one woc is the sassy black friend. It’s just really annoying.
    You’re right, if Leslie wasn’t in this movie it would be worse than it already is.

    • Wow. Really? “The way white people is”….

      You know, racism can go both ways, and you’re certainly showing that.

      The ONLY thing you come away with is it’s white people. Nice.

      I’m sure, however, you’d be the first one to toss down a declaration of racism at anyone who claimed a mostly black-cast movie as being “how black people are” which is a more correct way to say that phrase.

  2. Kate Upton running on the beach in a bikini….

    Really, do you really need any more of a reason to go see this?

    • +1

    • It was a beautiful occurrence, although it was on a screen.

  3. +1, Yep all I heard was Kate Upton Bouncing on the Beach.

    • Careful dude. That’s my future ex-wife you’re talking

  4. It depends on how much of the movie I have to watch to get to that scene of Kate Upton and if watching this movie is worth it I mean how long is the scene of Kate on the beach? Because if I have watch 30 minutes of a movie I have really no interest in just to see a minute of those ta tas bounce which isn’t near enough then its a no go unless the movie has scenes like that throughout then I’m on it.

  5. This is the WORST movie I’ve ever seen. The WORST.

    • @mark bartlett if this is “the worst” movie u have ever seen then u haven’t seen the spirit

  6. Just saw this movie yesterday. I want a refund of my $6.50 not to mention payback for the two hours lost watching it. The only upside, juxtaposed to the guys drooling over the very voluptuous Kate Upton, was the male eye candy with Nikolaj and Taylor. Oh and Cameron Diaz finally showing her age. You go, girl!

  7. Yeah, one review I saw on Friday said that The Other Woman was the worst of the week’s UK releases (the other two being Transcendence which was given a great review and compared to 70s techno-thrillers like The Andromeda Strain and Tracks I believe, about the Aussie woman who walked across the country with a dog and four camels).

    Basically, the reviewer said “it looks like they had a really good time making this movie, which is a big indication with comedy movies that the more fun you have making comedy, the less fun it is to actually watch”. Also saying it’s like a less sharp and less enjoyable version of First Wives Club and is just a plodding, unfunny film where people think the trick of comedy is to shriek and be excitable.

    So yeah, 1 out of 5, giving it a miss.

  8. this movie was awesome! I streamed it for free right here! http://adf.ly/6619554/the-other-woman

  9. I felt compelled to give up a star to Kate Upton bouncing on the beach; otherwise, I would have given zero stars.

    I only saw this movie because I missed the time of the start of SpiderMan2, and this movie was starting at the time I was at the multiscreen theatre.

    Following the advice of the previous reviews, I sat through the movie to the point where Kate Upton started bouncing (note: I said “bouncing” not “acting.”) I didn’t realize that up to that point I had to sit through two or three boorish indigestion sequences, which the boors in the back of the room found hilarious with loud laughter, but which curdled my sensitivities. After Kate Upton bounced, I watched about ten more minutes, but finally stopped watching and got up and left.

    If you like Taylor Kinney, okay, but you might just want to order some DVD sets of “Kitchen Cousins” if that’s really what you want.

  10. I want to see the outakes. I almost bust a gut laughing. Leslie Manning is hilarious. I loved it?

  11. I want to see the outakes. I almost bust a gut laughing. Leslie Mann
    is hilarious. I loved it?

  12. Why on earth would anyone suggest seeing this movie because of Upton?? Seriously??? Kate upton is shaped like a surf board! Her body is awful! She is HORRIBLY built without Photoshop! Please stop!

  13. It’s nice to see a well-done female alternative to to the bro comedy – unfortunately for every movie like this, there are ten bro’ed out Hang Over knock-offs, and at least 5 Seth Rogan bromances.

    I was pleasantly surprised by Kate Upton, I was really annoyed when she was cast, especially compared to her accomplished stars (Nicki Minaj didn’t bother me as much because of her role) but she actually held her own alongside Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann here.

    The best parts of this movie were the scenes with all three ladies in them at the same time. Loved that scene when they were all spying on Mark as he lounges at the Grand Cayman’s pool and they see him with yet another younger mistress (also loved that they used Major Lazer’s “Bubble Butt” what a perfect song for that moment).

    Like all buddy comedy movies, there has to be a good final scene that gets all the characters together to reflect on everything, and I loved the final toast – mission accomplished, friends for life. I love it (and also another good choice of song for the scene with Lorde’s “Royals”).

  14. How can i find the film script?