The Other Woman: Leslie Mann Is No Saving Grace

By Ural Garrett · April 28, 2014

Comedic stories of scorned women joining together to seek revenge against evil men is nothing terribly new to film. Early examples including Nine to Five and First Wives Club have always been seen as shining examples of the sub-genre. Then there’s Nick Cassavetes’ (John Q and The Notebook) sloppily directed Cameron Diaz vehicle The Other Woman. Diaz stars as career woman attorney Carly Whitten, whose presumably enjoying a relationship with Mark King (Game of Throne’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). That’s until Carly finds out that Mark is married to seemingly docile Kate, hilariously played by Leslie Mann. Using the typical narrative devices, the two’s awkward introduction to each other turns into a transformative experience where they become best buds and eventually devise a plan against Mark. Things get a little complex when both discover that the husband/bachelor is dating a Kate Upton’s younger and more attractive Amber. Having a theme of “woman empowerment,” Amber also joins the team after discovering Mark’s double-life. Therein lies a standard tale that doesn’t bring much to the table outside of Mann’s perfect comedic timing.

Of course, Mark is going to eventually get his comeuppance and all three woman are going to live happily ever after. However, like many films of its type, it’s all about the ride from point A to B. The problem is that The Other Woman never really finds its footing nor momentum despite a slow moving 109 minute time span. Even with half-hearted sub-plots involving Carly’s father ( Don Johnson) along with her romantic interest in Kate’s brother Phil (Zero Dark Thirty star Taylor Kinney), everything feels tacked on and easily seen from a mile away. Then there’s Nicki Minaj’s silver screen debut that focuses more on “behind the back” shots than her sub-par acting ability. There are too many times where the film gets immature with the gross-out humor; especially one scene where Carly sparks revenge against Mark through the usage of laxatives like it hasn’t been done before on film. 

Quite a shame Mann can’t save what is essentially a broken film. She lends an interesting twist to the absent minded wife character trope who initially has no idea of how deep her husband’s misdeeds actually runs. Though the script lacks any life of its own, Mann does her best as Kate and seems to be the only cast member having any real fun. The same can’t be said for Diaz who just feels bored throughout. This isn’t the same woman who first charmed film goers in earlier comedy classics The Mask and There’s Something About Marry. Maybe that spunk has given way to age. Diaz struggles to make Carly a likable character while getting upstaged by every scene she shares with Mann. Then Upton's job is to just look pretty; nothing more, nothing less. 

It’s fairly obvious the demographic filmmakers wanted  to attract, just disappointing their intelligence could get slightly insulted. Possibly one of the worse comedies of 2014 so far, The Other Woman is an exercise in lazy film making.