Flipping the Script 

The Other Woman Thinks It Has Something to Say

THE OTHER WOMAN  Fun women having fun.

THE OTHER WOMAN Fun women having fun.

THE OTHER WOMAN is a lot like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, except the pants are Jaime Lannister and they give everyone who wears them chlamydia.

For an essentially moronic movie, The Other Woman is crazily overplotted, but let's give it a go: Leslie Mann is married to Jaime Lannister. Jaime is having an affair with Cameron Diaz, who's a smart lawyer (lol); Kate Upton is his piece on the side. By Hollywood logic, these women are natural enemies—surely we can expect catfights, jealousy, insecurity? Puffing itself up quite righteously, though, this movie flips the script, and introduces the notion that pretty women don't have to compete with each other. The movie thinks this notion is pretty revolutionary, because this movie is, as mentioned, pretty moronic. When Leslie, Kate, and Cameron find out about each other, they promptly become besties and begin plotting Jaime's downfall. (They told Cersei the club was only for natural blondes. That is a joke about HBO's Game of Thrones.)

So far, this might not seem so complicated, but I haven't even told you about the offshore Caribbean accounts, the hot brother, the casual racism, the "Love Is a Battlefield" montage, the Don Johnson....

As a piece of filmmaking, The Other Woman is garbage, from the arbitrary scene transitions and incoherent editing to the decision to soundtrack a scene of girls having fun with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." As a piece of entertainment, it's yet another example of how sexism and racism regularly sneak into ostensibly broad-minded popular films under the rubric of "comedy." But you don't even have to dial up the outrage machine to find the film comedically bankrupt: The ladies' grand revenge scheme involves dosing Jaime with both laxatives AND estrogen supplements. Seriously. Those are jokes.

Just about everything is wrong with The Other Woman, in fact, except for the performances of its three leads. Upton can't act, strictly speaking, but she pulls off ditzily adorable really well, and Diaz—while not exactly one of the shining lights of her generation—is game, as always, to make herself utterly ridiculous in the service of a gag. Most notably, Leslie Mann is great, utterly transcending her boring jilted-wife role. Her performance is comparable to Kristen Wiig's in Bridesmaids, a physical, appealingly oddball take on the plucky female lead. But don't be deceived by the obligatory pants-pooping scene: This is no Bridesmaids, because Bridesmaids was directed by Paul Feig, an actual human. The Other Woman appears to have been directed by a Magic 8 Ball. "Will the audience notice if we make a bunch of weird jokes about Asians?" "Don't count on it!" "Should Cameron Diaz's love interest wear shoes?" "My reply is no." (Fun fact: The Other Woman was not, in fact, directed by a Magic 8 Ball; it was directed by John Cassavetes' son. That is not a joke about HBO's Game of Thrones.)

The fact that there are three good performances in the middle of this terribly conceived and executed film somehow makes it even more offensive to women. Here's a question a film reviewer hopes never to have to ask: Does a movie pass the Bechdel test if the women are talking about a dog's testicles? "Concentrate, and ask again."

Speaking of...

The Other Woman
Rated PG-13 · 109 minutes · 2014
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Producer: Julie Yorn, Donald J. Lee Jr. and Chuck Pacheco
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Taylor Kinney, Nicki Minaj and Don Johnson

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