Imagine that part in The Shining where Shelley Duvall looks at the typewriter, but instead of seeing the phrase, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” over and over, it says “This movie sucks” ad nauseam. That gives you an idea of my first attempt to review Nick Cassavetes’ The Other Woman. I’m sitting here with my face in my hands, slowly spiraling towards some sort of existential depression as I attempt to say something more about this stupid movie. There’s not a ton to say about it, but let’s try.
There are a few reasons why The Other Woman exists, from attempting to bank on the raunchy, female-centric wake of Bridesmaids (2011) to scraping the last bits of Cameron Diaz’s career off the floor to proving why nobody but her husband usually casts Leslie Mann in their movies. The quality is already on shaky ground when a film’s success is tied to the idea of Nick Cassavetes having the ability to direct comedy. And when the major selling point is Diaz’s cleavage, the returns are pretty much what you’d expect — an overlong and frustratingly unfunny film. Even that might be tolerable, or at least forgettable, except it eventually devolves into something much more repulsive.
Diaz plays Carly, a lawyer who’s entering into a pretty serious relationship with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Headhunters). That is, of course, until she finds out he’s married to Kate (Mann), who doesn’t take the news of her husband cheating on her all that well. Without Mark’s knowledge, Kate starts seeking the much more assured Carly for help, and a reluctant friendship soon forms. The two start to formulate their plans for revenge on Mark when they find out there’s yet another woman — the bubbly, naive Amber (dead-eyed, uncharismatic swimsuit model, Kate Upton).
Up to this point, the film is a predictable, unmemorable affair, with most of the comedy predicated on lazy, slobbery-dog jokes and bathroom humor. Then the payback aspect of the plot kicks in, and the movie starts to become borderline vile, as the gals decide to spike Mark’s smoothies with high doses of estrogen. Not only is this highly illegal and incredibly immoral (yet yucked up inside the film), it sucks any sympathy for these already shrill, unlikable characters right out of the movie. When the cheap jokes about Mark’s suddenly changing body kick in, the movie skirts the borders of offensiveness, making a dull comedy into an ugly one. Rated PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language.
Playing at Carolina Cinemas, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, United Artists Beaucatcher.