Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Stars: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nicholas Coster-Waldau, Don Johnson, Taylor Kinney, David Thornton, Nicky Minaj, Victor Cruz.
First bimbos club?
Written by first time feature film writer Melissa Stack, The Other Woman initially seems like another variation on The First Wives Club, but rather than three middle-aged divorcees combining forces to seek revenge on the husbands who dumped them for younger more attractive trophy wives, this laboured and terribly dull comedy sees three women gang up on the one man who played with their affections and betrayed them romantically.
Cameron Diaz, fresh from committing an unnatural sex act with a Ferrari in the awful The Counselor, plays Carly, a successful and strong corporate lawyer who has had a string of boyfriends during her search for the elusive Mr Right. But she has one firm rule – she won’t sleep with a married man! Imagine her surprise then when she accidentally discovers that her latest squeeze, the successful and handsome Mark (played by Games Of Thrones‘ Nicholas Coster-Waldau) is actually married to the demure and insecure Kate (Leslie Mann).
But after their first awkward meeting, Carly and Kate become friends, and over a few drinking and bonding sessions they decide to get their revenge on the two timing Mark. At first Kate resorts to such petty acts as slipping hormones into his drinks and lacing his shampoo with a hair removal treatment. But when Carly and Kate follow him to the Hamptons one weekend they discover the presence of yet another mistress in the voluptuous form of the beautiful, much younger and spectacularly well endowed Amber (former Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, from Tower Heist, etc).
The three then team up to bring Mark down. That he is a bit of a bastard, an unrepentant sleazebag and womaniser who is also embezzling funds from his own company makes him an unsympathetic character, ripe for some payback. The big chance comes when the three women discover where he is hiding his money and set out to strip him of his ill-gotten fortune. And here is where the film becomes bogged down in a succession of cliched and clunky business that is frankly not that funny or original.
The first rule of a comedy is that it should be funny and make us laugh. Unfortunately it’s a rule that writer Stark, director Nick Cassavetes and the cast of this horribly laboured and dull comedy seem to have forgotten. Cassavetes is the son of the legendary independent American filmmaker the late John Cassavetes (Death Of A Chinese Bookie, etc), but he is better known for his dramas that deal with serious themes, like The Notebook, one of those rare tearjerkers that blokes can blubber at unashamedly as well. But with this raunchy comedy he is out of his depth and it shows with his ham fisted and heavy handed approach to the sub-Judd Apatow-like adult-oriented comedy. Another Bridesmaids this female centric raunchy comedy certainly isn’t!
Lots of the film falls flat, and jokes just lie there dying, gasping for oxygen. I think I laughed only once during the whole thing! And it drags on for far too long, becoming predictable and outstaying its welcome. Compare this dull 109 minutes of alleged comedy with the infectious and endlessly inventive humour that Wes Anderson crams into a mere 100 minutes with his The Grand Budapest Hotel, easily the best comedy released for quite some time.
Diaz seems to want it both ways – she likes to find good, strong and confident roles for females on screen, but she also plays sexually voracious creatures well. Here she spends much of the time in skimpy outfits or in bikinis. Cassavetes previously worked with Diaz on the tearjerker drama My Sister’s Keeper, drawing a much more nuanced and subtle performance from her then. Mann, who has appeared in superior comedies like her husband’s Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, etc, seems to be playing a stereotypical character that has become part of her repertoire. She has a grating presence here as Kate, whose shrill voice and lack of self esteem becomes increasingly grating as the film progresses. Upton looks good, but her performance is a bit too stiff and wooden and one-dimensional.
Coster-Waldau seems like a good sport as he suffers a lot of indignities in his role here. And Don Johnson (of Miami Vice fame, etc) is wasted in a small and thankless role as Carly’s father.