The Other Woman (2014)


Info SidebarThe Other Woman is first and foremost a comedy, but seething beneath all the projected laughter is a sickly movie. It plays thin and unqualified, and its characters develop more into insults of the kind of women they should be playing than into funny women who are trying their hardest to drown a cheating fraud in his lechery. This is the kind of movie that makes you feel ill inside. It delivers pretty much what it promises, to a T, and there’s something strangely unnerving about that.

No doubt there will be viewers immensely tickled by its three leading vixens and their evil plans, but for the majority of viewers expecting some intelligence to dribble its way through the story, none will be found. Indeed, at times the maturity scale of The Other Woman cradles itself somewhere in the Dumb And Dumber zone, but with more cleavage and less testosterone (I say this as a pun — the main bad guy in this movie accidentally grows long nipples from drinking diluted oestrogen).

Why does he drink diluted oestrogen? His name is Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and he’s a two (three, maybe ten) timing SOB, married to the inappropriately irritating and possibly retarded Kate (Leslie Mann), who finds out that her good-looking husband has been bedding another woman, Carly (Cameron Diaz), who shows up at their house in Connecticut dressed as a sexy plumber because Mark told her his house needed urgent fixing. Kate and Carly become the best of friends and, after deciding to put all other priorities aside, agree to bring Mark down and rub his face in his own poo (this almost happens literally). But wait! The writer of The Other Woman, Melissa Stack, throws us another curveball. Not only has Mark been fooling around with Carly, he has also been enjoying beachside frolics with the much younger and unbelievably gifted Amber (Kate Upton), whose white bikini top struggles so hard to contain her breasts that it deserves applause, and probably some kind of medal.

Now we have a story on our hands. Kate, Carly and Amber team up, probably hoping to better Charlie’s Angels. They want revenge. They want payback. Mark has gone on cheating for too long. Sure, Mark is a despicable man, and one really cannot tolerate infidelity, especially when he’s married, but because Coster-Waldau is naturally charming, and is the only member of the cast to play his role knowingly and with a cheeky wink, he comes off being more likeable than any of his female counterparts. This can either be amusing or disappointing, because heaven forbid that we should ever empathise with the villain. But watch this movie to the end and ask yourself: Would I really be the villain if I had my nose, clothes, and most of my face shredded to pieces by broken glass, after having begged for forgiveness?

If your answer is yes, you could probably pick this movie out of a line up and have it follow you home.

Me, on the other hand, not so much. I enjoy a good comedy when it comes along. I can even appreciate good toilet humour, in the vein of the Farrelly Brothers, which is an old nut, but if cracked properly can produce some truly hilarious sight gags (the image of Ben Stiller’s jewels trapped in his pants zipper on prom night will forever be a reminder to wear underpants). But when it’s done lazily, as in The Other Woman, it becomes lethargic. I cannot remember the last time a Hollywood comedy failed to include jokes centred around the unnatural treatment of private body parts. Here, we see both a man and a dog dirty themselves with faecal matter. Cameron Diaz complains that she gets slapped in the face by canine testicles. She and Mann discuss pubic hair. And all the while I’m wondering where the comedy is. Words like “poop” and “balls” and “ass” are not inherently funny. The mistake most Hollywood writers make is thinking they are, and that we, the poor viewers, must be grateful that we’ve seen clever, sharp comedy.

Look, The Other Woman just isn’t my cup of tea. It is proudly juvenile and gravely confused. There are many other movies in the revenge/comedy/infidelity genre that I could recommend that would be more worth your time and money. Seek out Crazy, Stupid, Love. The writing is tighter, the characters more relatable, the direction less rigid. For the women, you’ll be rewarded with Ryan Gosling’s washboard abs. Don’t settle for Coster-Waldau’s rubbery nipples here. You deserve better. Heck, even the men deserve better.

 

Best Moment | Nope. That’s right — even Kate Upton bouncing down the beach with her chest ready to erupt isn’t attractive enough to earn Best Moment.

Worst Moment | The endless stream of vulgar jokes. They aren’t funny! And also, Cameron Diaz looks old enough to be playing Taylor Kinney’s mother.


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