The Other Woman
Most films end up pitting women against each other for entertainment value. Romantic comedies especially have a history of pitting women against each other while chasing after the same man. Films like "My Best Friend's Wedding" have mined laughs from the trials and tribulations as each woman looks for her happily ever after. It's rare when women team up as friends to work towards a common goal - let alone one involving a guy.
"The Other Woman" takes the tired cliché and turns it on its head by having its lead characters work together, rather than fight each other, for the man of their collective dreams.
Carly (Cameron Diaz) has found the love of her life in Mark, causing her to "clear the bench" of all the men she is casually dating. There is just one problem; Mark is married to Kate (Leslie Mann)! Upon the discovery, Carly is forced into a friendship with Kate as they bond over being deceived by the same man. When they find out he is cheating on both of them with another - younger - woman (Kate Upton), they all team up to pay him back for his misdeeds. The remainder of the film devolves into "The First Wives Club" for a new generation, where the wife teams up with her replacements to exact revenge on her husband.
Following the success of last year's "The Heat," "The Other Woman" is the next great female-centric comedy, offering laughs from the trio's complementary skill sets. Mann plays up the physical comedy while going into over-the-top hysterics about her crumbling marriage. Diaz offers a grounded approach with the comedic punch lines coming from her sharp tongue and ball-busting attitude. Upton, who is thankfully seen more than she is heard, chirps in with the stereotypical comments that would come from a dumb twenty-something. However, coming at just the right moments allows her model to achieve maximum impact with her limited abilities. Though the role isn't much of a stretch, rapper Nicki Minaj is thrown in for good measure as Carly's assistant, who is quick with the one-liners.
Diaz is more than fitting in the role of man-eating, workaholic Carly, it is hard to overlook the fact that she is quickly aging out of the young romantic lead category. Now in the over 40-year-old age bracket, she looks good for her age - though she is starting to look more and more like Madonna every day - but she is the same age as Mann's jilted wife. Considering the other women that Mark chases throughout the film are all nubile young females barely pass the legal drinking age, it doesn't quite make sense that he would have gone after Carly in the first place. The role really should have been played by someone a decade younger to better bridge the gap between Mann's wife and trophy girlfriend Upton.
With a resume that includes tear-inducing female films like "The Notebook" and My Sister's Keeper" (which also started Diaz), director Nick Cassavetes is well versed in making films that appeal to the more tender human emotions. The problem is that he tries to apply those skills here and the film ends up suffering by emotionally pandering to its audience. Slow motion montages depicting the blossoming relationship between Carly and Mark, or Kate's introspective, soul-searching while trying to decide if she is ready to end her marriage don't fit the overall feel of the film. Even the obligatory slow motion beach run by Upton seems out of place. Romantic comedies aren't the place to try to force emotion from the audience, especially in a film with a script that has already fleshed the female characters out enough to have audiences invested in them.
Despite its few missteps, "The Other Woman" offers up mile a minute laughs and ends up being enjoyable brain candy. Its faults are overshadowed by its own entertainment value. As we head into the summer movie-going season filled with big budget blockbusters, it is nice to kick it off with a fun, no frills comedy that has one objective, to make you laugh, and it accomplishes that in spades.