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Other Woman, The
The Other Woman is a comedy from director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister's Keeper) and first time screenwriter Melissa Stack. Released in April, the film was a huge commercial box-office success despite mostly mixed and negative reviews. It's one of the breakout comedies of the entire year and is a film which continues to show the star appeal Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann hold.
The film stars Cameron Diaz as a successful attorney working in New York named Carly Whitten, who is in a relationship with the business savvy (or seemingly so...) Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Yet the sunny romancing between them is interrupted when she discovers that he is married to another woman, Kate King (Leslie Mann).It isn't long before Carly and Kate begin meeting each other and discussing the affair(s) of Mark, and both begin wondering if he isn't maybe seeing anyone else as well. Carly and Kate soon discover that he has another mistress, Amber (Kate Upton). Could he perhaps have even more? While dealing with the relationship turmoil all three connect and form a genuine friendship that will last throughout their lives.
The three decide that a dose of revenge is a dish best served cold and begin messing with Mark in a variety of ways for all of his infidelities (some examples include: putting hair remover in Mark's shampoo, putting his tooth-brush in the toilet, giving him an entire box of laxatives, serving up drinks to him with testosterone lowering/estrogen enhancing pills). All three are successful in finding a number of new ways to make his life less pleasant. This is prior to entirely leaving Mark in the dust, of course.
Things shake up more, however, when it turns out that Mark's also just a bad businessman conning those he works with out of millions and who is simultaneously stealing successful business ideas from Kate while trying to leave her as the fall guy. So they step up the game, utilizing the smarts of Carly to plan a last hurrah against the douche, and comedy (mostly!) ensues. This just about sums up the bulk of the plot.
The Other Woman reunites director Nick Cassavetes with Cameron Diaz, who had previously collaborated on My Sister's Keeper. The film is primarily a comedy but there are still some dramatic questions thrown into the mix. The style of storytelling reminds me of a lot of the comedies from the 1990's and is more reminiscent of those genre films in terms of the humor not being entirely broad during the entire picture (much of the humor here is found in the physical comedy from extraordinaire Leslie Man). The film has a plot too (amazing, isn't it?) and isn't just a string of goofy comedic moments, though the humor is sometimes baffling bad in parts and then simply uproarious minutes later.
It's not a film that is full to the brim of humor, though. For example, Cameron Diaz is not being utilized here for comedy but more as a backbone character to the plot and dramatic undertones. Her performance is good but she isn't given much to do with the comedy here so some may find that a bit underwhelming. In virtually the entire film, the script and direction relies upon Leslie Mann for much of the audience's laughs. The good news is that Mann does a remarkable job with her great comedic performance.
Kate Upton barely has a part at all here. The role is remarkably small, so much so that one might wonder how she even got to be alongside the other leads with a top billing credit. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (the guy having affairs) has very little to do until the end of the film. The first half of the story doesn't really show the actor doing much at all other than showing the audience dialogue-free scenes of him with these women while at the beach, home, or out to eat. It's only upon reaching the end that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has a chance to really act and then the casting finally makes some sense as he busts out some good comedic moments.
Inexplicably, it's worth noting that musician Nicki Minaj is in the film in a part that is rather poorly performed and seems horribly out of place. Minaj seems to only be in the film to be a additional celebrity filling some 'studio-approved need for more celebrities in this film'. That probably sounds pretty harsh, but the acting is seriously poor and so having Minaj in the cast certainly feels like a studio mandated detriment (even if it actually wasn't).
Nick Cassavetes is a competent director if also someone who is not particularly someone I would think of as being an auteur filmmaker. I'm someone who loved The Notebook, but the style of The Other Woman doesn't even remotely resemble it in directing terms, and is more workmanlike and feels like the craft of a for-hire studio director. It's a bit funny to think that this film comes from the son of filmmaker John Cassavetes (who has crafted some brilliant independent cinema, many films of which have released through Criterion). Nick Cassavetes doesn't add anything rich in terms of the style. Rather, the film breezily slides by on standard Hollywood gloss and doesn't do much beyond that. This certainly is a film that feels generic from a directing standpoint.
The only way Nick Cassavetes shows some genuine craft is through the ability to get quality performances and in brief reprieve moments where the film is set to classic jazz music compositions. These moments are the only ones where a more artful approach seemed to have been attempted with regards to framing and style but these elements also feel decidedly out of place within the rest of the film stylistically.
The screenplay is generally pretty humorous and engaging if also nothing that hasn't been done before to some extent and with a variety of other films. The film has no real surprises and it's one that basically follows a typical pattern one can expect in this kind of production. The important thing is that the character writing was pretty good for the lead actors, and that's where Melissa Stack excels as a writer. Her script also has some humorous lines that are effectively brought to life by Mann. It's a good effort but this is only a slightly above average comedic script.
The cinematography looks well produced, but the lack of much in the way of artistic uses of color and setting makes it seem like a beautiful but unremarkable part of the production. It's perhaps what the film needed as most comedies don't get to have remarkable cinematography and are more likely to only delivering something that is effective at presenting a glossy look at reality -- and not what eschews that reality with more artistic flair as commonly seen in fine artistic dramas.
There are audiences who will view The Other Woman and love it for what it offers. It's certainly a reasonably entertaining film, and the effort fits a genre and style well that one hardly even sees produced anymore. It's a bit of a throwback to 90's comedies and isn't as raunchy as many of the popular comedies being made today. I'd have liked the film more if it felt more original and less overproduced. Even so, there are good things in The Other Woman and the film is cemented through the terrific Leslie Mann. For anyone who has an interest in seeing the film it's worth a rental to check out.
The Other Woman arrives on Blu-ray with a stellar 1080p High Definition presentation in 2.40:1. Unlike the vast majority of comedies being made these days, this was actually shot on film and there are so many moments where this aspect it utilized effectively for shots of the beautiful locations the story takes the characters to. The color, depth, and detail is generally solid and refined and its difficult to imagine fans walking away disappointed.
The audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The audio is crisp and generally solid at emphasizing and focusing on the dialogue and occasional music and effects utilized. Like the majority of films in its genre the main focus of the track is the dialogue and that is where this lossless mix impresses.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing) and Spanish.
There are a couple of extras on this release but nothing in-depth is included (like a commentary or making-of featurette).
This release contains: Deleted/Alternate Scenes (10 min.) showcasing both scenes cut from the final film and extended/alternate versions, Gag Reel (4 min.) demonstrates outtakes from the filming, Giggle Fit (5 Min.) is a long take showcase of Leslie Mann and Cameron Diaz in a effort to get a good scene take but finding it hard to do without having the giggles, Gallery (1 min.), which showcases still photos, and lastly the original trailer (2 min.) promoting the film.
A Digital HD (for redemption as Ultraviolet or iTunes) code and a slipcover (o-card) are also included with this edition.
The Other Woman has its fair share of laughs and good moments. I certainly think that it can be the kind of film that many will find some enjoyment from and would consider worth watching once. The film is inconsistent though, barreling through a weak first act and struggling to be consistently funny and interesting.
It's a film that is worth watching once and that perhaps viewers will enjoy watching on cable or the like, but I'm not sure that this is something most would consider essential. It's a slightly above average comedy. The real star of the show is Leslie Mann, who gives an impeccable performance that makes the film worth seeing. While Cameron Diaz also does a solid job, this film is Mann's showcase and it's her performance that brings the most laughs.
Having said all of the above, the Blu-ray PQ/AQ is good and if one is a fan of the film this release is certainly worthy of a purchase for fans who can't get enough of this comedy film.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.