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Movie Review: “The Other Woman”

Movie Review: “The Other Woman”
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BY ALISON BAILES

This “comedy” from director Nick Cassavetes may be about a skeevy, cheating, sleazeball of a husband. But he’s infinitely less annoying than the three women who plot to take him down. And that’s the problem with this shrill chick flick. The chicks just aren’t smart or cool. Or funny for that matter.

Looking for rational conduct and authenticity in a comic farce may be a foolish endeavor these days.  But the behavior displayed by Kate King (Leslie Mann) as the put-upon wife of studly Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) reaches such heights of grating stupidity that it’s easy to see why he cheated on her in the first place. I know that’s not a supportive feminist stance to take….no woman deserves to be treated the way Mark treats Kate…..but the filmmakers might have had Mann dial down the ditz and make her more palatable to the audience. Not only does Kate seem to relish her role as dumb blond housewife, she allows herself to be treated like a doormat by her conniving husband. Mann who proved so memorable in a cameo role in “40 Year old Virgin” is hard to take in larger doses. She was mildly intolerable in “This is 40” but here she is unwatchable. With her little-girl voice and flailing physicality, she makes Kate a joke of a woman, the kind of person who thinks her husband’s latest buxom 21 year old mistress is cute and asks “can we take her home?”

But the fault doesn’t lie entirely with Mann. The script by first time screenwriter Melissa Stack is atrocious with barely a laugh to be had. Cameron Diaz fares the best, tasked with playing the tough and sexy lawyer who sleeps with Mark, only to befriend Kate when they both realize he is a slimy cheat. Why she then decides to team up with Kate to humiliate Mark is beyond me. I guess the filmmakers just wanted an excuse to get three hot actresses together and make crude jokes at the expense of a man. (The less said about Kate Upton as the other, other woman the better). Coster-Waldau who has the square-jaw good looks of Aaron Eckhart crossed with the louche appeal of Denis Leary is a bland cipher, barely registering as an actual human being.

Cassavetes, who once made small, tender movies such as “Unhook the Stars” and larger, decent Hollywood ones such as “The Notebook” has lost all sense of direction and shows just a terrible touch for comedy. Jokes (as such) are milked to death and unwise gags involving bouts of diarrhea and dogs defecating are shoehorned in as if he had a “gross-out quota” to fill. Mildly humorous bits involving Nair in a shampoo bottle and Estrogen pills hidden in a smoothie fizzle out quickly; if we see Mark losing clumps of hair in the shower, then how come his head is impossibly well coiffed and full in the next scene? It’s as if no one here cared enough to carry the joke through.

I know it’s just a “dumb Hollywood comedy” but films like this make me embarrassed to be a female.  And should make Cassavetes embarrassed to be a filmmaker.

 

 

 

 

 

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