'The Other Woman': Two out of threesome hit the mark in revenge comedy

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceApril 24, 2014 

THE OTHER WOMAN

Leslie Mann, left, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton seek revenge in The Other Woman.

BARRY WETCHER

  • MOVIE REVIEW

    'The Other Woman'

    ★★★☆☆

    PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language. Fox. 1:49. Fayette Mall, Frankfort, Georgetown, Hamburg, Movie Tavern, Nicholasville, Richmond, Winchester, Woodhill.

And thus, a great comic duo is born. The Other Woman is a female empowerment comedy and buddy picture, a PG-13 Bridesmaids, as if that was even possible — but it is, because of Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann.

Diaz, whom future generations will look back on in awe that anybody so skinny/sexy could be so very scary, takes the straight-woman role to Mann, an underrated comedienne who hasn't worked nearly as much as she should have since she married comic brand name Judd Apatow.

This farce — about a romantically jaded lawyer, Carly (Diaz), who realizes her new love of the past two months is married to a prattling, scattered but sweet housewife, Kate (Mann) — gives Diaz a few pratfalls, a lot of pricey clothes and the occasional bikini. It gives Mann everything else — especially every funny thing.

Kate all but collapses on learning the truth in Carly's office.

"Does this open?" she mumbles, groping and poking, dazed, at a wall-size window she'd like to jump through. "You had sex with my husband ... 50 times? Don't you have a job?"

She cries to Carly, drinks with Carly, badgers Carly with calls.

And she drops in, uninvited, on Carly's swank city apartment.

Mann, who stole Knocked Up (2007), plays a great drunk. Seeing her being poured into Carly's chauffeured Town Car is like watching Buster Keaton in high heels.

Worldwise Carly gets why Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) would cheat on Kate. She's a clingy ditz, unable to train her Great Dane, catering to her entrepreneur hubby's every need. Even Kate gets that.

But Kate wins Carly's sympathy, and ours.

The Diaz/Mann pairing is helped by a couple of funny supporting players: Pop singer Nicki Minaj, a Picasso- parody of what real women look like, plays Carly's secretary, and Don Johnson is Carly's five-times-married massage addict of a father.

Then the ladies meet a third "other woman," Amber (voluptuous model Kate Upton). It's not her fault that this comedy, directed by Nick Cassavetes, hits the wall when Upton, who's no actress, shows up.

Parking her next to the older Diaz and Mann probably scared the wits out of them, but Upton looks like a cheerful, chipmunk-cheeked collection of shapely, dull-eyed baby fat next to the women who are 20 years her senior.

Cassavetes plays around with the soundtrack, underscoring Kate's "little Edith Piaf moment" breakdown with a funny-sad cover of La Vie en Rose, getting a little too on-the-nose by using Mission: Impossible music for Kate and Carly stalking Mark as he sneaks off to cheat.

It's too long, and gets more obvious the longer it goes. The villain is weak, and Minaj's caricature seems straight out of a Tyler Perry picture. But Melissa Stack's script has snap and crackle to go with the pop, making this female wish-fulfillment fantasy an Eat, Pray, Revenge that delivers the punches that two Sex and the City movies never could.

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