Release Date: 23rd April 2014
Running Time: 109 Minutes
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nickolaj Coster-Waldau
Nick Cassavetes attempts to offer viewers the best of both world’s in his latest film The Other Woman. On the one hand an empowering film about girl power and ladies striking back against the man who done them wrong, like if the Sex and the City gals took up vigilantism. In contrast there are an abundance of fart jokes and Kate Upton running in slow motion for audience members with a Y chromosome. It creates a conflict of interests that drags the whole project down. By trying to please everyone, he manages to miss the mark on both accounts with a complete lack of focus. Cameron Diaz plays Carly, a successful, cynical, no-nonsense New York lawyer who thinks she has finally found Mr Right when she starts seeing suited smoothy Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Her happiness is shattered however when she meets his oblivious wife Kate (Leslie Mann). An unlikely friendship eventually grows between homewrecker and housewife and, upon recruiting Mark’s third lover (Upton), the jilted trio form a Sisterhood of the Philandering Husband, hellbent on making Mark suffer. Sadly, hilarity rarely ensues.
It’s a road we’ve been down many times before, yet The Other Woman takes an eternity to get there. Events unfold at a snails pace, with Cassavetes frequently hitting the plot’s pause button to allow for scenes in which Diaz and Mann get drunk and stumble around. Surely there are better ways to establish a growing fondness between characters than merely getting them hammered for the umpteenth time. Their relationship feels unrealistic and poorly defined. If a bond between the two does develop into something approaching heartwarming, then it happens almost by accident.
A testament to the skills of the actresses as opposed to anything preordained by the script. While Diaz does a decent job as leading lady (memories of her windshield straddling turn in last year’s The Counsellor are still fresh in the mind), it is Mann’s Kate who offers anything remotely interesting. Her awkward improv comedy schtick has been done many times before, but when the laughter stops she carries the emotional trauma of her situation well. Coster-Waldau proves to be the perfect foil as her cheating spouse. We know from Game of Thrones that he is more than capable of playing the caddish bastard; cavalierly toying with his wife’s affections, providing a much needed injection of drama in later scenes. These occasional bright spots merely provide glimpses of what could have been however, and are overpowered by crass humour (laxatives in a drink), flawed logic (games of rock-paper-scissors to decide who has sex with Mark?!?), and some catastrophically bad acting from the supporting cast (is Nicki Minaj a robot?). The final payoff wins some points for it’s sheer excessiveness, but all patience has been exhausted by the time we arrive there. A rom-com/revenge fantasy hybrid with moments of fun but for the most part a bland and tiresome affair.