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THE OTHER WOMAN (review)

other_woman_ver2THE OTHER WOMAN
Written by Melissa Stack
Directed by Nick Cassavetes
Starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton

THE OTHER WOMAN is a very odd film. Not only is it a comedy that isn’t actually that funny at all, but it is also a film that is clearly meant to empower and galvanize women everywhere that only really furthers the notion that these days, it is every woman for herself. At first, I thought the issue might have been the man behind the camera but in the end, I lay full blame on the woman behind the script. It saddens me greatly when men miss the mark on women in film, but it causes me great pain when women mess themselves up.

Cameron Diaz stars as Carly, a successful, New York City lawyer, who thinks she might be actually falling in love for the first time in a very long time with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, HBO’s Game of Thrones). Just when she is about to take their relationship to the next level, she discovers he’s been lying to her all along and that Mark is actually married. When she inadvertently tips off Mark’s wife, Kate (Leslie Mann), of Mark’s affair, Kate badgers Carly into bearing witness to the inevitable mental breakdown this news has caused her. (The scene where Kate loses it in Carly’s office as all the other women in the office stare in judgment of her is a particular highlight.) This is where it all falls apart and, it should be noted, this happens fairly early on in the picture too.

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Kate is spiralling out of control. She has no idea what to do with herself in the moment, let alone in the aftermath of the discovery of her husband’s adultery. She needs a good friend in her life and, as she apparently has none, she insists that Carly be her shoulder to cry on. Clearly, Carly is the absolutely worst person on the planet to seek solace in over this situation. Sure, Carly was just as duped by Mark as Kate was, but even Carly knows this pairing is all wrong, as she continuously tries to make this crazy lady go away. I believe the point of this is to infuse this ludicrous scenario with a healthy dose of realism so it looks like the filmmakers have respect for the characters, and for real life in general. That said, if Carly doesn’t want any of this to happen, why should we?

When making a movie with an impossible premise, one needs to embrace said implausibility full on, not point out to the audience how inane it is. To get Carly fully on board with the plan to take down their shared man, a new element is introduced – a third woman. Model, Kate Upton, plays Amber, who is also sleeping with Mark. Now we have a trifecta of female stereotypes to drive this insanity; we have the crazy, tired wife, the well put together mistress in the city and the younger model with Daddy issues. You might think there is no way these three women could come together as friends and you know what? You would be right, unless you lived in this parallel universe.

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Despite every basic human impulse telling them otherwise, this threesome come together to take Mark down in spectacular fashion. (This is where the THE OTHER WOMAN inexplicably morphs into a gross out comedy momentarily.) Their logic is that between the three of them, they have enough smarts to beat this one guy. And there you have the modern girl power motif in contemporary Hollywood cinema. It takes a total of three women to put their own lives on hold to bring down one man and feel like the fairer sex. Of course, once they do, they all find love and happiness with other men to make them whole again. Hooray for feminism!

(Oh, and Nicki Minaj is in the movie as a sassy secretary. Her hair colour changes every time she appears on screen.)

1.5 sheep

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