The Other Woman

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The Other Woman’ was directed by Nick Cassavetes, son of filmmaker John Cassavetes. John should have been a better father. This will be on my list of the 10 worst films of 2014. I was shocked. I’m not sure I knew what to expect going in but I certainly didn’t anticipate this to be the laugh-free entertainment dead-zone that is. And yet, I’m giving it 1 star. Why? I suppose the camera was in focus.

‘The Other Woman’ was #1 at the box office last weekend, surpassing the highly popular and well received ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’. Here’s hoping word of mouth gets this out of theaters quickly.

Cameron Diaz plays Carly, a hard-charging Manhattan attorney who finally believes she is leaving the dating scene when she meets the seemingly perfect guy. His name is Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a successful businessman and entrepreneur. Even at his least glamorous, he would still make the cover of GQ magazine. He spends his weeks in the city and his weekends at his home in Connecticut. For some reason, this doesn’t sound alarming to either Carly or her sassy secretary, Lydia (Nicki Manaj). Carly has “cleared the bench” as she puts it for Mark (i.e. the point when you terminate all other candidates when you believe you’ve found the right one). Carly is in for a shock when she goes to Mark’s house in the suburbs to surprise him and discovers he has a wife, Kate (Leslie Mann). Carly is wearing hot pants and twirling a toilet plunger like a baton – at this point, she realizes she is the title character of this terrible movie (and this reveal is handled in the most unbelievably cartoonish way).

Kate tracks Carly down and the two form an unlikely friendship. Presumably, they believe they can draw strength from each other due to their vast differences. Whatever. The two really bond when they discover that Mark has been cheating on both of them with the young, gorgeous, Amber (Kate Upton). The three women seek revenge on the man who is cheating on all of them.

You know you’re in trouble when the best thing about the movie is Nicky Manaj (and only because she gets to say “Selfish people live forever”). Leslie Mann is a talented actress; when hasn’t she been hilarious? Her character here must be clinically insane. When Kate learns Mark is having an affair, she acts like a lunatic – a hysterical basket case who gets drunk in public and vomits into her purse, shows up at Carly’s office and makes the most inappropriate remarks, and just whimpers and cries most the time. At one point, her character acknowledges that she needs to go to “brain camp”. I nodded in agreement (if only such a thing existed). Slapstick doesn’t appear to be Ms. Mann’s thing here; there are some big, desperate attempts at laughter, but they all fall flat.

Even worse is Kate Upton’s performance – the Sports Illustrated swimsuit model murders every single line of dialogue; she makes Rosie Huntington-Whiteley from ‘Transformers 3’ seem like Meryl Streep in comparison. When we see her running down the beach in a teeny-weeny white bikini in slow-motion, we get a sense of what her audition process must have been like. She is only here to provide jiggling eye candy to the male viewers suckered into seeing this.

In what universe would Kate and Carly ever be friends? Was this supposed to be a feminist revenge fantasy? Consider for a moment their attempts at revenge (all of which are completely juvenile) – dropping laxatives in Nick’s drinks, dumping hair removal cream into his shampoo, and dosing him with estrogen.

Compositions are mostly blank spaces, and interior spaces consist mostly of grey and white; this is unfortunate because if you want to avert your eyes away from these unbearable characters, there isn’t really much else to look at. You will see the lame jokes coming a mile away, and the musical choices about independence and sisterhood are incredibly obvious. The movie doesn’t care to explore such topics; it’s more interested in scatological humour.

At one point, in the middle of a Carly’s Manhattan apartment, a Great Dane has a bowel movement, which we get to see in excruciating detail. The shit in the movie is fake. The shit that is the movie is real. There is a GoodLife Fitness right next to the Cineplex Yonge/Dundas theater I saw this movie in – I should have rushed there for a shower long before the “What Became of These Characters” final montage.  Stupid. Lazy. Haphazardly assembled. I’m embarrassed for everyone involved. QED.

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