MOVIE REVIEW

Weak script undermines comedy 'The Other Woman'



To quote Cameron Diaz in "The Other Woman": "What is your deal? Do you not get how weird this is?"

Or how unfunny and regressive this is, with three women joining forces to torment the man who cheated on them with either his wife, ditsy homemaker Kate (Leslie Mann), or one of his girlfriends, Carly (Ms. Diaz) and Amber (Kate Upton).

'The Other Woman'

Starring: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Rating: PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language..


"The lawyer, the wife and the boobs -- together you have a perfect killing machine" is how Ms. Diaz sums up the three, and she has the choicest role as a Manhattan attorney who has a rule about dating married men.

She unknowingly violated it with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, "Game of Thrones") and wants nothing to do with weepy Kate, who keeps showing up at her office or home, sometimes with her pony-size dog in tow.

Kate overshares, overwhines and overstays until she turns into a friend to Carly. When they discover Mark is romancing a third woman -- played by the buxom Sports Illustrated swimsuit model -- the three team up to teach the cheater a lesson. Some of it is juvenile and gross, and some requires the knowledge of an attorney.

Although "The Other Woman" wants to be about female friendship and empowerment, it's a story about three women who allow their lives to revolve around plotting revenge against a man. Kate and Carly turn into Lucy and Ethel or "2 Broke Girls," hiding in the shrubs with binoculars to spy on Mark or speeding after him as he heads to an assignation.

Ms. Mann's Kate is a grating character, a woman who has no children and no job outside her large Connecticut home and yet weakly whimpers, "I can't even remember to shave my legs." She is a counterpoint to Ms. Diaz, who capably plays a high-end lawyer whose father (Don Johnson) is divorcing his fifth wife.

Nick Cassavetes ("The Notebook," "Alpha Dog") directs "The Other Woman," the first produced screenplay of Melissa K. Stack. At a time when a recent report found that female writers accounted for 15 percent of feature film work in 2012, this script is especially disappointing.

In the interest of fairness, a number of women at a preview this week periodically laughed and seemed pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the "Miami Vice" star Mr. Johnson. Taylor Kinney also turns up as Kate's contractor brother, who is the most normal one of the bunch, and Nicki Minaj is Carly's secretary.

It's been almost 18 years since Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler starred in "The First Wives Club" as college friends discarded by their husbands for younger women. The glow around the movie has increased with time.

A colleague found the energy they spent in seeking revenge demeaning although their rendition of "You Don't Own Me" was done with a fearless glee and sass that's missing here. Watching someone in "The Other Woman" get punched in the already bloody face seems a cheap and excessive way to get laughs. Or try to.


Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies.

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