The Other Woman

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A man bringing three women together for all the wrong reasons never felt so right. The Other Woman has drawn comparisons to other female-powered revenge comedies like The First Wives Club and John Tucker Must Die, but doesn’t have the same luster as either film. The Nick Cassavetes-directed comedy induces good laughs here and there, yet recycles the same formulas as similar films. The characters written by rookie screenwriter Melissa Stack and brought to life by an attractive and likable cast also feel cliched. Still, there’s just something that feels so good about seeing ladies sticking up for each other, even when the circumstances are odd.

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The Other Woman first introduces us to Carly (Cameron Diaz), a hard-working and brainy New York City attorney. She finds a special someone in the form of Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who helps provide funding for start-up companies. However, her special someone isn’t all what he seems after Carly unexpectedly comes face-to-face with Mark’s wife Kate (Leslie Mann). Instead of fighting over the man, Carly and Kate develop a very interesting friendship and try to get back at Mark for two-timing the both of them. In the process, they find out there is yet another woman in the equation: Amber (Kate Upton)—young, blonde, voluptuous, and “every wife’s waking nightmare” according to Carly. Amber eventually becomes an ally to Carly and Kate, and so the pair becomes a trio with a mission to sabotage. The leads are backed up by a slew of colorful supporting characters which includes Carly’s sassy secretary Lydia (Nicki Minaj in her film debut), Carly’s wisecracking playboy father Frank (Don Johnson), and Kate’s brother Phil (Taylor Kinney).

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The theme of female solidarity is definitely empowering and sends out a clear message that women shouldn’t be looked to unfairly when it comes to cheating. But as humorous as the movie is throughout, it’s hard to ignore some of the stereotyping of ladies in romantic comedies and film in general: Carly is portrayed as standoffish, Kate is emotionally unstable, and Amber is simply the hot girl. Weirdly, all of the actresses are all well-suited for their roles. That’s not to put any of them down as a film such as this one isn’t meant to be taken that seriously: If you’re going to cast someone to play an obligatory young swimsuit model type, might as well cast Kate Upton. If you need someone to play the bubbly and very chatty woman with a high-pitched voice, might as well cast Leslie Mann, who—by the way—is my personal favorite part of the movie. She plays the hysterical and oddball part so naturally, but as Mark’s wife, her subtlety attracts sympathy for the character in the more serious scenes. The three actresses altogether share an adorable chemistry, and they’re fun to watch in their scenes of bonding (and conflict).

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As a purely escapist film, one shouldn’t expect too much from The Other Woman. It could’ve been a top-quality comedy with a better-developed script, less sloppy editing that doesn’t include useless shots or “blink and you’ll miss it” scenes, and less predictability. The acts of revenge also could’ve used more originality. SPOILER: Putting laxatives into someone else’s drink is so American Pie! What eventually happens to Mark at the conclusion is actually pretty hilarious and the film mostly is fairly feel-good fun. It could’ve been very memorable in a positive way, but it falls short of its potential. Instead, The Other Woman is just another sweet but average girly movie.

As far as comedies, chick flicks, and new movies go, this one isn’t an absolute must-see, but it’s ideal for a hearty girls’ night out or even a very early Mother’s Day treat. It’ll probably be best enjoyed a year or two from now on Netflix or on cable television on a lazy day in. I say feel free to make a date with another movie this weekend.

Written By Karen Datangel: A San Francisco girl through and through. She has called the City by the Bay (and its suburbs) home for all of her 20+ years and counting, earned her B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University, and proudly wears the colors of the Giants and 49ers. When this budding freelance entertainment/lifestyle journalist and blogger isn’t writing or working at her day job, she’s obsessing over film, pop music, baseball, and cats and impressing loved ones and strangers with her contemporary pop culture knowledge. She also enjoys exploring new hot spots and frequenting familiar places in and around her city as well as others.

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