If revenge is a dish that is best served cold, the new getting even comedy The Other Woman should probably have never been served at all. Even for a movie released by a major Hollywood studio (in this case, 20th Century Fox), The Other Woman exhibits a vast vacuum of imagination.
When the thin plot finally kicks into gear around the third act, one begins to wonder if random viewers could have come up with more entertaining acts of malice. It’s a safe bet that any person in the street could have at least picked more interesting musical cues than director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) has.
Yes, Lalo Schifrin’s theme to Mission: Impossible and “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun” are fine tunes, but you can practically set your watch to the time that Cassavetes decides to use them.
It certainly doesn’t help that Cassavetes paces the film so sluggishly, but then again, it might not matter because he does so little with the time he has been allotted. Cameron Diaz stars as Carly Whitten, a tough-minded corporate lawyer who seems to have it all now that the rich and hunky venture capitalist Mark King (Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) is in her life.
He showers her with affection and enjoys several romantic-looking montages until Carly discovers that there’s a reason why her new beau disappears unexpectedly. It turns out that Mark is already married to the eccentric, emotionally needy Kate (Leslie Mann).
While Carly wants to forget Mark altogether, the lonely Kate has no one else to confide in because all of her friends are also Mark’s. If Melissa Stack’s script had more to go on than clumsy, anemic gags involving feces, this relationship might have been the cornerstone to a terrific movie.
Instead, Diaz’s poise and reserve never really gel with Mann’s over-the-top neuroses. While Mann can be side-splittingly funny in supporting roles (she’s better as a chronic alcoholic date-from hell in The 40-Year-Old Virgin or a bumbling New Age mother in The Bling Ring), a little bit of Mann’s mania goes a long way.
Before Carly and Kate wonder if they have to compete with each other for Mark’s sly, seedy charms, they discover he has yet another woman on the side. Amber (moonlighting model Kate Upton) doesn’t seem to do much except demonstrate why bikinis were invented.
If Cassavetes does anything right in this film, it’s not assigning Upton the task of reciting long passages of dialogue or believable displays of emotion. It’s obvious Upton wasn’t assigned the role for either of those skills.
When The Other Woman trudges to its conclusion, there’s a sense the wrath that Carly, Kate and Amber rain down on Mark isn’t all that harsh or surprising. In fact, there’s a persistent lack of suspense throughout The Other Woman that makes the comic payoffs seem even less generous. It might have been more involving if viewers discovered Mark’s infidelity the same time that Carly does instead of spelling it out in the opening credits. Because we’re already ahead of the characters, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to care if they’ve been betrayed.
Perhaps The Other Woman could be best enjoyed by turning down the soundtrack and allowing viewers to select their own musical cues or even come up dialogue for the characters to say. It’s a safe bet that amateurs could come up with something more entertaining than the alleged professionals have.
The Other Woman 72 Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Don Johnson, Kate Upton, Taylor Kinney, Nicki Minaj Director: Nick Cassavetes Rating: Rated PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language Running Time: 109 minutes
MovieStyle, Pages 40 on 04/25/2014
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