Is it possible to find the perfect man of your dreams to only find out that it was all a lie? What happens when you gain an unexpected friend in the process? Can you keep the friend and kick the man to the curb? That’s part of the premise behind the DVD release of “The Other Woman,” which showcased such a unique friendship forming out of the craziest of circumstances. The story had a unique twist, but the movie’s play-it-safe tone almost hindered it before it got to a somewhat satisfying scene that was almost worth the price of admission.
“The Other Woman” followed successful lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz) who never believed in committing to one guy; until she met Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). He was a successful businessman who could buy her anything he wanted and even had a house in Connecticut that he went to on the weekends. Carly was so in love with Mark that she invited to meet her father Frank (Don Johnson) who she had a very strong relationship with, even though she never understood why he kept getting married to women that weren’t right for him. Mark was eager to meet her father, but he was forced to cancel at the last minute when a pipe in his house burst. After some advice from her father, Carly drove up to the Connecticut to visit him in a plumber’s costume. Instead of surprising Mark, Carly was surprised herself when Mark’s wife Kate (Leslie Mann) answered the door. She made a hasty visit and vowed to have nothing to do with her cheating boyfriend. She had to put moving on from her boyfriend on hold when Kate confronted Carly at her office. After some prodding from Kate, the two woman started to hang out a little more in an effort to move on from the man who conned them both. Carly also met Kate’s brother Phil (Taylor Kinney) and saw some potential in meeting a guy who actually was honest with her. While the ladies became good friends, their newly established friendship hit a snag when both women thought that Mark was sleeping with one of them. It turned out that he had another clueless mistress in the much younger Amber (Kate Upton) that brought out Carly’s insecurities and Kate’s playful side. Amber was just as shocked to meet Kate as Carly was, but their newfound connection began the process of a revenge plot. The three women decided to work together to find a way to get even with Mark at all costs. Will they be able to expose all of Mark’s secrets before revealing all to him, or will the plan fall apart before it gets off the ground?
In terms of the questions, the movie’s overall story was pretty straightforward as far as revenge comedies go. It followed the basic formula of the main characters being wronged by a bad guy who came across as someone completely different. The movie’s mistake was that it should’ve been a dark comedy rather than romanticizing the revenge comedy story. The movie would’ve been very different if it didn’t play it safe to secure more money at the box office. The biggest surprises was that Director Nick Cassavetes was the least likely culprit to direct such a film, because he usually tended to go for the emotionally darker fare in some of his past films. As with a lot of buddy comedies, the plot took a little too long to build momentum because it spent too much time with the main characters trying to find a way to trust each other before they put their revenge plan in motion. The revenge story should’ve been implimented a lot sooner than it was, while the three women learned to become good friends in the process. It would’ve been a nice change of pace for them to snipe at each other while they worked together to gather dirt on the cheating con man in their lives. The movie did have some nice comedic moments with the women putting the pressure on Mark, such as putting hair remover in his shampoo and spiking his drinks with whatever they could come up with. The movie’s ultimate reward was the final confrontation scene where the ladies confronted Mark, which made everything else worth the wait. Coster-Waldau played Mark’s unlikability to the hilt in those scenes as he revealed his true colors to everyone within hearing distance of him. It’s just a shame that Coster-Waldau wasn’t able to flesh out Mark beyond being a sex crazed con man who would sell his own mother down the river for some extra money. In the end, he was merely the catalyst that brought three different women together in a bizarre friendship triangle that actually worked when the girls behaved badly. The supporting cast was used appropriately as a way to breathe some new life into the story. Johnson’s Frank and Kinney’s Phil were the only male characters who were somewhat honorable enough to help, and occasionally flirt with them. It’s just a shame that the ending managed to wrap things up just a little too neatly. The movie should’ve just ended one or two scenes before it did, while just hinting at what the future held for the ladies.
As for breakout performances, Diaz and Mann led the pack as two very different women who came together due to one lying cheating man that pretended to be someone he wasn’t. Diaz played the straight woman this time as the buttoned up lawyer who was starting to feel vulnerable after being lied to for months. She managed to earn laughs by dealing with some of Mann’s crazier antics without having to go too over the top to get viewers to laugh with her or at her. In this movie, Diaz’s biggest strength was her physical comedy in how she tried to leave an awkward situation with no dignity intact. She ended up knocking over a big urn after finding out that Mark was married and she also was accidentally pushed out of a window after she was almost discovered by Kate’s husband. It also helped that Mann and Diaz had a breezy rapport that made this thin paper plot somewhat believable to an extent. Mann’s Kate, on the other hand, had to bring credibility in playing the part of the wronged wife. She managed to bring out Kate’s zany side after getting drunk so soon after finding out that her husband was sleeping with another woman. Mann used Kate’s hysterics to make her relateable as she always made them connect to her dealing with the character being betrayed. She had one memorable scene when she finally realized that her marriage was over and she took off her wedding bands as a symbolic gesture of the end of her relationship. Upton’s Amber did deserve an honorable mention because she basically played a part where she didn’t have to do much acting besides playing the part of a pretty young woman. She drew some laughs while goofing around with Mann in the beginning, but Upton’s presence was primarily to be another pretty face on the big screen. Let’s hope that if she does another comedy that her next role will allow her to be more than that next time.
Verdict: Despite the cast’s comfortable rapport, the movie was hindered by a slow set-up and playing it a little too safe in its tone. It could’ve been a little darker with a much less neater happy ending to keep viewers guessing.
Movie Score: 2 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG-13
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)