Some may dismiss ‘The Other Woman’ as a wacky romantic comedy without much substance. It definitely has its fair share of slapstick humor but the intelligent script by Melissa Stack touches on thoughtful issues of independence, identity and the power of female friendships. Director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) gives the film the right balance of off-color jokes and modern naturalism with a talented cast that knows physical comedy. ‘The Other Woman’ is surprisingly funny due to the chemistry between the two lead actresses Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann. It’s amusing to watch these two complete opposites bond over being duped by the same womanizer.
The story begins with Carly (Diaz), a highly successful corporate lawyer in a Manhattan high-rise office building discussing with her assistant Lydia (Nicki Minaj) that she is smitten with her latest fling Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). She thinks she’s found the man of her dreams after two months of dating and “clearing the bench” of other boyfriends. When Mark flakes on meeting Carly’s father at the last minute, she decides to surprise him with a sexy maid costume at his Connecticut home. There is only one problem. Kate (Mann) answers the door to Carly’s dismay. Mark never told her he was married. All this time, he has been living a double life.
Being a serial dater, Carly has no problem moving on with her life. She’s a busy attorney and ignores Mark’s text messages. This is where the movie gets provocative. It’s Kate who goes out of her way to track down Carly in the city with her Great Dane in tow. At first, Carly wants nothing to do with Kate. She cannot understand why this “Stepford wife” is practically stalking her. Mann’s verge on a nervous breakdown performance is hilarious. She has done this kind of comedy in her husband Judd Apatow’s movies ‘This is 40’ and ‘Knocked Up’ but she takes her character to another level in ‘The Other Woman.’ The difference is that she brings emotional warmth to Kate and it’s impossible not to care about her plight. Although it’s funny, the underlying reality is that she is terrified to leave Mark because she has no money of her own and quit her career aspirations to be a stay-at-home wife.
Just when you think the comedy might run out of steam, Cassavetes throws more fuel on the fire. It turns out Mark is currently dating another woman. His new girlfriend is a ditzy, twenty-something babe named Amber (Kate Upton). With the Mission Impossible theme song playing, the two women follow Mark to the Hamptons where he is having a romantic tryst with Amber. In a slow-motion sequence reminiscent of Bo Derek running on the beach in ‘10,’ Carly finally shows a bit of jealousy that Mark would have the nerve to replace her for the younger model Amber. This is where the three women plan revenge against Mark’s cheating ways. Conveniently, Kate has a good-looking contractor brother Phil (Taylor Kinney) who has a beach house where the women plan to get back at Mark with female hormones, hair-remover and laxatives. It is literally toilet bowl humor but it works well since the cad deserves all the pain and suffering the women can muster.
This film obviously targets the female demographic. It’s one of those romantic comedies you go to see with your girlfriends. Thanks to the gifted physical comedy of Leslie Mann, there are plenty of laughs. Interestingly, if you dig a bit deeper, the subject matter is all too real. It deals with female solidarity and empowerment. ‘The Other Woman’ delivers enough laughs to make it an engaging afternoon at your local multiplex. If you’re still on the fence, check out the official trailer http://youtu.be/oDcaZ3StTfI.