ONE OF THE fundamental flaws in The Other Woman—a 2009 film that's been dusted off in the wake of Natalie Portman's Oscar grab—is that its protagonist is awful. Not in an entertaining or clever way, just in a boring, spoiled, whiny way. It may, in fact, take the entire first quarter of the film's runtime for the depth of that insult to set in: director Don Roos thinks giving a shit about this person is worthy of your time and attention. He's totally serious about that one, and he can go fuck himself for it.
Portman takes center stage as Emilia, a Harvard law grad who used her degree to blithely steal a rich husband from his wife, something she did with absolutely no evidence of restraint, remorse, or inner reflection. She then immediately quit her job to pout around the Upper East Side of Manhattan doing fuck-all. Her only activity is half-heartedly trying to connect with her new stepson, Will (Charlie Tahan, who, along with Lisa Kudrow as the scorned and angry first wife, is one of the film's only bright spots, even though it's clear his character will grow up to become an intolerable and pompous ass). Do you care whether Will's explosive diarrhea was caused by the ice cream or the hummus? This film thinks you do.
Okay fine, Emilia has one actual problem: Recovering from the devastating loss of her newborn daughter to sudden infant death syndrome. However, all but the meekest shreds of sympathy for her are squandered in the face of the bratty explosions and hurtful attacks that are her apparent attempt at coping mechanisms. Ironically, the other woman in this film is far less interesting than Kudrow's underrepresented original wife, Carolyn, a contributor to society who actually works to earn her lifestyle. She is also responsible for carrying off the film's most emotionally complex act with poise and a little thing called humanity in the face of crumply, weepy, personality-impoverished Emilia.
If you have not yet tired of dramatic clichés and the tedious problems of rich dilettantes who lack any strength of character, The Other Woman is a hearty serving of both. This critic, though, has had her fill.