Movie Review: The Other Woman

IMDB, The Other Woman“The Other Woman” on IMDB

Comedy, 109 Minutes, 2014

I’m having difficulty reviewing this one. I can’t honestly say where I fall on it. It’s probably damning with faint praise to say that it’s absolutely harmless. It is true, however: this movie will not harm you or your family in any way.

The story is straightforward: a trusting, wondering woman finds out that her cheating, jerk-face husband is a cheating, jerk-face. When she confronts the other woman – and they then find a third – they find out that he lied to them all. They then form an unlikely friendship with the common goal of piling humiliation and pain onto said cheating jerk-face.

Leslie Mann [IMDB], as the flighty, naive wife is a stand-out. She’s warm, charming and throws everything she has into the pleasant insanity of her character. Her energy is infectious. You easily find yourself falling in movie-love with her and so happily support any punishment she may mete for jerk-face.

Cameron Diaz [IMDB] is the (first, so likely the titular) other woman. Her character is cold, stoic and anti-social. She, obviously, loosens up by the third act, because this is just that kind of movie. Kate Upton [IMDB] is the other, other woman. She is absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous and absolutely, breathtakingly bad at acting.

The goal, I think, is to create a female buddy movie. Give three seemingly incompatible women a common goal and watch the friendship flowers bloom. The problem is that instead of allowing the characters to grow, we get a lot of lackluster slapstick and poorly realized shenanigans. There are also some poop jokes if you were worried that things might get too real.

The audience is never allowed to see anything like real emotion or consequence for any of the actions. We care about Mann’s character purely on the basis of her performance and innate charm, not because of anything in the script. Jerk-face is just that: a cartoony, cardboard cut-out with no depth. He may have well have a black mustache to twirl while grinning slyly.

The movie is harmless. It plays more as a prime-time sitcom than any serious attempt to bring humor to a bad situation. There are no pesky human feelings around that might make you accidentally sad that a woman’s life is being thrown into chaos. Of course, without any real sense of catharsis this also means that the laughs will feel false and hollow – but perfectly, completely harmless.

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