Why didn't somebody tell me it was 1996 all over again and The First Wives Club was back in theaters? Oh wait, it's 2014 and that is not Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, and Bette Midler making mincemeat out of some poor, cheating scum of a man? No, this is The Other Woman, a rancid pseudo "girl power" film about women who think it's just the greatest thing ever to learn they've all been cheated on by the same guy. And maybe that's true since the guy is Game of Thrones' hunky Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who gets the honor of crashing through a plate glass window and crapping his pants.
Figuratively, director Nick Cassavetes has also stunk up the joint with this doughy pant load of a comedy, the kind that should have women carrying pitchforks to screenwriter Melissa Stack's door. It's a shame because Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann are two of the funniest women around, both generally hitting high marks with raunchy comedies just like this. But Stack's insulting, clichéd script and Cassavetes' inexperienced comedic hand is an insurmountable opponent. Diaz plays Carly, a high-powered lawyer who seems a notch or two less stern and crazy than her character in The Counselor, although this would have been a better movie if she were. Carly thinks Mark (Coster-Waldau) is the perfect guy, and for a while he is. She confides in her girl-chasing father (Don Johnson) that she thinks Mark is almost too perfect, and on cue she discovers he's a married man with a home in Connecticut. Oops. That'll teach you women to show up at a guy's house unannounced and dressed like the world's sluttiest Roto Rooter employee.
Mark's wife Kate (Mann) might as well have "Welcome" stamped on her forehead she's such a doormat. He's reaping the benefits of a business venture based on her ideas, riding in fancy cars and jetting around the country where he seems to have women stashed like candy at fat camp. Meanwhile she's insulting her own intelligence and basically acting like a buffoon. When she learns of Mark's infidelity, she has a total breakdown which looks an awful lot like her acting normal. While shedding some tears is to be expected, Kate goes full-on stalker and latches on to Carly, basically forcing them to become the most improbable of friends. Rather than moving on and just getting Mark out of their lives, they decide it makes more sense to make their entire lives about getting payback. Kate Upton is upstaged by her own cleavage (she's nicknamed "The Boobs" for a reason) as Amber, yet another of Mark's conquests who gets in on the vengeful shenanigans.
So the girls make Mark's life miserable in every way that matters to a guy like him. Hair remover in the shampoo, Ex-Lax mixed into his drinks, financial ruin...it's all there and extremely familiar. At one point he sprouts boobs after downing some female hormones. Hey, the guy deserves it. He didn't just cheat on his wife; he wasn't honest with Kate and Amber, either. So there's no doubt Mark is a total douche. However, the women aren't all that, either, and the script doesn't do much to make us care about them a whit. In fact, it seems to insult them at every available opportunity. Kate is a cry-baby who insults her own intelligence frequently. The one thing Carly is supposed to be good at (other than sexual marathons) is being a lawyer, but she never shows any real aptitude for it. And Amber might as well be a wind up doll with a gigantic rack. There's never a lick of consistency in the way these women relate to one another, and their attitudes shift at the drop of a plot contrivance.
That's not to say Diaz and Mann don't do their best with what poor material they're given. Mann is pretty funny when she's not flopping from one idiotic pratfall to the next. You'd think after all of those Apatow movies she'd want to get away from playing insecure women, but apparently not. Diaz finds herself in the straight-role, and she's always at her best as the alpha female. It's another impressive comedic turn in a career full of them. She and Mann would make a great duo in another movie. Upton's not terrible, she's really only there to be a hot bod and that's what she's good at. Coster-Waldau bites it the worst, though. There's nothing for him here but toilet humor and forced overacting. Game of Thrones must seem like a calming reservoir after this experience.
The Other Woman isn't just an unfunny comedy, but it treats its female characters like a bunch of side chicks.