Monday, June 1, 2015

You're in Trouble When the Best Performance is Turned in By a Great Dane: "The Other Woman" (2014)

Three women take revenge on a bastard man in a film that is neither "9 to 5" or "The First Wives Club."

Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a Columbia Law School graduate (stop laughing) living in New York City. She is unlucky at love until she meets Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). He's seemingly perfect, but also mysteriously stand-offish, and one night cancels a dinner with Carly and her father (Don Johnson) because of plumbing issues at his house in Connecticut. Carly shows up uninvited at the house, dressed like Sexy Plumber, but instead meets Mark's ditzy wife Kate (Leslie Mann). Mark is always away on business, and clueless Kate has no idea he is screwing around on her. Kate forces herself into Carly's life, trying to get advice on what to do with her husband (all of her suburban friends are more concerned with keeping their husbands happy- the film seems to say if you are a stay-at-home wife or mother, you are an idiot). Eventually, Carly and Kate discover yet another mistress, Amber (Kate Upton...sigh...) and the trio band together to teach that jerk of theirs a lesson through hair removal cream in the shampoo, female hormones in his daily smoothies, and uncovering his prerequisite shady financial dealings.

At one point, while watching this movie, I turned to my fiancee and said something to the effect that if she was anything like Leslie Mann's character, I would cheat on her, too. Kate is not just ditzy, she is annoying and shrill and possibly has special mental needs, and the viewer shouldn't be watching this and agreeing with her jerk husband's treatment of her. Diaz isn't even given a character to play, her function is to deliver lines and move the story forward. Her role has a name, but I couldn't tell you one characteristic about Carly when this was done, except she is stuck with the awful Nicki Minaj as a sassy seen-it-all secretary who only exist in bad movies like this. Kate Upton shows up so late in the movie, I kept checking the DVD cover to make sure she really was third-billed. Upton isn't very good, either, but my aforementioned fiancee kept telling me to wipe the stupid grin off my face every time she was onscreen.

The story, written by a woman, borrows heavily from the superior "9 to 5" (right down to the "where are they now?" ending that will make you cringe), and the equally abysmal "The First Wives Club" (where women show their ex-husbands that they can go through their new lives independent and strong, with a little help from the poor bastards' checkbooks). I could have bought the trio as a little stronger, in "9 to 5" all three women were smart and funny, and took revenge on their boss over what he had done to their personal lives and careers. Here, Mark is an asshole, we never know why the three fell for him to begin with, unless surface charm is all it takes these days, and after a while I didn't care what they did to him, I just wanted Upton to put a bikini back on. There's a subplot about Amber and Carly discovering their "true loves," and I called that one as soon as their beau characters were introduced.

"The Other Woman" plays it safe, when there is so much potential here. It's lethally unfunny and totally forgettable. (*) out of five stars.