Cameron Diaz may be the other woman, but Leslie Mann is the woman. Mann could be this generation’s Lucille Ball, because like Ball, she’s attractive and comedically there may be nothing she can’t do. By her sheer force of nature, she makes “The Other Woman” better than it has a right to be.
Directed by Nick Cassavetes and written by Melissa Stack, “The Other Woman” begins with lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz) in the throes of what looks like a one-night-stand with businessman Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Before long the one-night-stand turns into something more…at least for Carly…and eight weeks later, she’s ready for him to meet her Dad (Don Johnson) for dinner. But at the last-minute something comes up for Don and he cancels. Thinking she’ll surprise him, she goes out to his home in the suburbs and there’s a surprise all right…only it’s on her. Who should answer the door, but his wife, Kate (Leslie Mann).
To make a long story short, the two discover that Mark has been cheating on both of them and decide to find out who the woman is. With the great “Mission Impossible” theme in the background, they follow him one weekend which leads them to the beach and Amber (Kate Upton). Angry that she’s not his one and only, Amber joins forces with the other two in figuring out a plan that ensures Mark gets his just desserts.
Though it’s a slight comedy, there is a lot to like about the film, especially with the women involved. One can understand Mark’s dilemma. Cameron Diaz has a great knack for comedy and she’s terrific at showing there’s more going on than just a great body and a wide smile…and she’s way more appealing here than she was in “The Counselor.” Kate Upton is appropriately cute and manages to hold her own with Diaz and Mann. And, as noted earlier, Leslie Mann is just plain fabulous. She gives us warmth, ditziness and smarts all in one great package. But it’s the object of all this affection, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who underwhelms. Although known for more dramatic roles, he’s got some good comedic chops, but he just seems a bit bland and smarmy. However, he does look nice in a suit. Once we’re introduced to Kate’s brother, Phil (Taylor Kinney), I kept thinking,”wouldn’t this movie have been better with him as Mark?” Finally is Nicki Minaj as Carly’s secretary, Lydia. With her attitude and ever-changing wigs, she steals every scene in which she appears.
What weighs “The Other Woman” down is its getting to the point. The back and forth with Carly and Kate goes on far too long before we finally get to their teaming. There are other scenes that also could be shorter or edited out entirely. While it’s nice to see Don Johnson, I’m not convinced we needed so much of him.
It’s not surprising that the film is written by a woman. “The Other Woman” has a lot of witty, sharp dialogue…especially when it comes to women judging other women. As the writer demonstrates, my gender is harder and perhaps funnier on ourselves than any man could ever be.