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'The Other Woman' review: A weak empowerment flick

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The Other Woman(2014)

Rating:
Star2
Star
Star
Star
Star

Another miss from director Nick Cassavetes, “The Other Woman” places too much focus on Cameron Diaz’s star power, relies on too many overused jokes, and attempts to be a more empowering “chick flick” but contradicts with a cliché, happily ever after conclusion.

Carly (Cameron Diaz), a respected lawyer, has recently found romance and compatibility in charmer Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). When she unexpectedly meets his wife, Kate (Leslie Mann), Carly decides to end the relationship but is drawn into a plot of revenge by Kate’s emotional collapse. The two scorned women learn that Mark has another mistress, Amber (Kate Upton), and set out to teach Mark a lesson.

Some hilarity does ensue, especially from the gifted, hysterical Leslie Mann, but “The Other Woman” fills too many holes with absurdity, such as poop jokes and tequila-inspired goofiness. The premise is unique and could reach audiences like the modern classic “The First Wives Club,” but “The Other Woman” wastes its potential of refusing to be a typical romantic chick flick by falling into the trap of resolving a female-led story by pairing the girls with unnecessary love lives in the epilogue so that the audience knows they find their Hollywood happily ever after. It doesn’t work because it contradicts its empowering purpose, as if saying these women clearly just need the “right” men in their lives to be happy.

Part of the problem is highlighting Cameron Diaz as the main character, thinking she still sells, and not giving Leslie Mann the credit she deserves; Mann scores most of the audience’s laughs. Diaz plays the “smart” friend, an unusual role for her, while Mann and Kate Upton both play variations of the incompetent, ditzy blonde-ish female; Mann is in hysterics and flaky while Upton is only present as eye candy. In order to be a believable film to resonate with women, at least one of the three needs to be convincingly intelligent enough to manage the wealthy lifestyles they live.

The strength of this trio never quite reaches an empowered climax; their moment of triumph distracts with too many outrageous reactions and certainly doesn’t offer any reason to believe either Carly or Amber are any stronger for the journey. Once again, Mann’s performance and character are the only positive attributes of “The Other Woman.” Skip it, unless you enjoy Mann.

Rating for “The Other Woman:” D+

For more information on this film or to view its trailer, click here.

“The Other Woman” is still playing at many theatres in Columbus, including Gateway and AMC Lennox. For showtimes, click here.

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