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Other Woman (2014), The

20th Century Fox // PG-13 // April 25, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]

Review by Jeff Nelson | posted April 25, 2014 | E-mail the Author

The formula utilized in many romantic comedies has become all too tiresome. A countless number of these films play by the exact same beats, making for a predictable venture to the cinemas. However, too many filmmakers turn to the idea of romantic love in such a scenario. Writer Melissa Stack might have kept the structure the same, but at least she turned the attention away from the romance. With Nick Cassavetes behind the camera, The Other Woman tells a story of friendship, morale, and revenge. A clear attempt is being made to create empowering female roles, but do they succeed? While this could have been much worse, it's hardly funny or empowering.

Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz) is having a difficult time finding a man to settle down with, until she meets the charming Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). When she decides to surprise him on his trip back home, she discovers that he's married to a woman named Kate (Leslie Mann). The two women find out that he's having yet another affair with a beautiful woman named Amber (Kate Upton). All three of the women decide to team up and plot mutual revenge on Mark.

The Other Woman gets off to a rather brutal start. You'll be able to guess every plot beat before they even appear. Stack makes numerous attempts to make us laugh, but most of the jokes fall flat. At this point of the picture, Carly delivers the majority of the lines. She's the cookie-cutter character that we see in nearly every romantic comedy, where she desperately wants real love, but believes that monogamy isn't real. Once Kate is introduced, she becomes the flare of each scene that they share together. The role simply has more to it, as she struggles to decide what to do about her cheating husband. Since Mark doesn't know that she's aware of the affair, she tries to use it to her advantage. Writer Melissa Stack's screenplay has its moments, but it takes quite some time to pick up. Unfortunately, she tends to stay on the same topic of discussion for far too long, rather than moving forward, allowing for a wider variety of humor. Expect to see a lot of the same jokes over and over again.

Surprisingly, everything about the film slightly improves starting at the halfway point of the second act. Once all three women are together and they start progressively planning each step in their revenge, the pacing gets quite a bit better. In fact, there are actually a couple of funny jokes and gags at this point of the picture. However, they're few and far apart. This is when this film shows that it's more than just a comedic revenge tale, but a story of close friendship that evolves into something similar to sisterhood. They may be connected by a very odd situation, but they all come to trust each other. Even though none of these characters are very strong, this bond most certainly helps the feature. The screenplay tries its best to be as empowering to women as possible, but it doesn't ultimately portray its females in a very positive light.

The filmmakers try to provide the film with a little bit of depth, as Kate continues to battle with denial. She hopes that he can change and that they can work it out, but all of the evidence continues to prove that his lies have no end. While some of these scenes are a bit ridiculous, others hit the mark relatively well. Audiences will find that it's much easier to connect with Kate, as opposed to the remainder of the characters. With Mark being the clear enemy here, he plays the one-dimensional cheater. If you think that the character disposition is on the light side for the women, then you'll be shocked by how paper-thin he is. While viewers will want to see these women get their revenge, we never necessarily care what becomes of him.

Regardless of who is behind the camera, nobody is expecting brilliant performances from The Other Woman. Cameron Diaz might have a lot of bland lines of dialogue, but she delivers some chuckles with her facial expressions in the role of Carly Whitten. These are all in the context of her fellow actresses. Leslie Mann delivers a fine performance as Kate King. This is far from her funniest role, but she still offers a few laughs. Kate Upton was a questionable choice as Amber, but she does an alright job here. This role isn't meant to be taken seriously, so she works just fine. This is an extremely odd film for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau to be in, but his performance as Mark King is exactly what one would expect. However, the material is extremely limiting for everybody involved.

Even though the film gets a little bit better through the second half, it still doesn't manage to carry itself to victory. Fortunately, the story doesn't simply focus on these women getting revenge on Mark. Underneath all of that, this is a film about friendship. My biggest gripe here is that it simply isn't very funny. The majority of the jokes fall flat, as the large majority of the jokes will leave audiences with an awkward silence. The Other Woman incites the very occasional chuckle, which just isn't good enough. Rent it.



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