Revenge Rarely as Funny as in 'The Other Woman'
When it comes to comedic films, I fear I’ve become a bit jaded.
My formative years were spent indulging in comedy classics (I use that term lightly) such as “The Jerk,” “Stripes,” “Caddyshack” and “Vacation.” After taking a fairly lengthy break (the high school and college years) from watching movies, I was reintroduced to the genre with newer “gems” liked “Knocked Up,” “Superbad” and “Bridesmaids.”
It seems, however, that even films I enjoy as much as those latter ones aren’t enough to keep me running back to the genre like I did in my younger days. It’s become stale, milquetoast and unoriginal.
Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I went to a comedy in the theater and walked away satisfied.
That, however, changed this week when I was exiting the theater following an early screening of “The Other Woman.”
If we’re being completely honest, my primary reason for wanting to see this movie early was to see supermodel Kate Upton on a giant screen.
And while that experience was everything I’d hoped it would be, by the time the credits rolled it was only my third or fourth favorite thing about the movie.
“The Other Woman” follows the budding relationship between ruthless power attorney Carly Whitten (Cameron Diaz) and technology entrepreneur Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jaime Lanister on “Game of Thrones”).
On the surface their relationship has everything – fun, passion, spontaneity. But it also has its fair share of complications. Namely in the form of Mark’s wife, Kate (Leslie Mann, Debbie in “This is 40” and “Knocked Up”).
A mistimed lie leads to wife and girlfriend finding out about one another and forging an unlikely bond. That bond is strengthened even more when the pair finds out that Mark is cheating on both of them with the much younger Amber (Upton, virtually every magazine cover in existence and Sister Bernice in “The Three Stooges”).
The three come to find out that none of them are really to blame for the situation and set out to ruin Mark’s life the way he ruined (or at least attempted to ruin) each of theirs.
Mann really is the driving force behind the comedy here. She brings pieces of many of her recent roles – Debbie’s insecurities about aging and Nicky’s (one of the bachelorette party girls in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) hilariously awkward alcohol-infused rants to Kate’s persona.
Given Upton’s standing in the modeling world, there really wouldn’t have been a much better choice to play Amber. She doesn’t have many lines and the ones she does have are to be delivered by a sweet, albeit airheaded 22-year-old. Amber is the eye candy and Upton delivers.
Of the three main characters, Diaz is the one who most blends in and is just kind of there. As in most of her roles she’s funny, but nowhere near as funny as Mann. And she’s also stunning, but she’s kind of overshadowed by Upton and her bikinis.
The cast is rounded out by Coster-Waldau, Taylor Kinney (I didn’t know who he was, but the gasping girls behind me apparently did), Don Johnson (“Miami Vice”) and “rapper” Nicki Minaj. Each served their purpose and had their moments, but they were pretty much there to lend their support.
“The Other Woman” isn’t destined for greatness – critics are panning it, it won’t win awards, I don’t foresee a huge box office for it and I’m not sure how well it will hold up upon repeat viewings.
What I will say is that for 100 of its 109-minute runtime, it’s a lot of fun and there are some laughs there that caused actual tears and small amounts of pain. Even now (three days later), I’m still chuckling to myself over some of the gags.
I fear I’m still a bit jaded in terms of comedies, but at least now when someone asks me for a good/fun movie to go see, I’ll have a recommendation for them.
★★★ of ★★★★★