By Chaz Lipp
There’s not a whole lot of ambition on display in The Other Woman, a revenge comedy that cleaned up quite nicely at the box office back in April, 2014. It offers a fun set-up – a cheated-on wife teams up with her husband’s two mistresses to get some pay back – and skillful performances by a spirited cast. It’s not consistently funny enough to warrant a hearty recommendation, but Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann do their best with the material. Their off-the-cuff asides provide the biggest laughs, some of which revolve around a gigantic, unneutered dog that accompanies Mann’s character nearly everywhere.
Carly (Diaz) believes she landed the catch of a lifetime with businessman Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Her dad (Don Johnson, barely utilized) encourages her to go for broke and fully commit to the relationship. Upon showing up at Mark’s home, dressed as a “naughty” plumber, she meets the lady of the house, Kate (Mann). Both women are initially confused, but the reality of Mark’s infidelity soon comes into focus. Kate has a tougher time accepting it; she and Mark have apparently been married a long time and she’s grown accustomed to the perks of living with a rich, successful man. But the happy façade has obviously been hiding a web of lies, both in Mark’s personal and professional worlds.
After a little borderline stalking, Kate convinces Carly that she’s open to friendship. After all, Carly didn’t realize Mark was married. Neither one reveals to Mark that they know of each other’s existence. Joining forces to play mostly juvenile pranks on their man, Kate and Carly figure out that Mark’s conducting a third active relationship. Beach babe Amber (Kate Upton) is young enough to be the older women’s daughter. She was under the impression that Mark was getting a divorce. So, with both mistresses essentially blameless, the revenge-driven duo becomes a trio and they work towards ruining Mark’s life. Coster-Waldau isn’t given much of a character to play, but when he’s called upon to ham it up, he works himself into a frenzy with the best of them.
Though it skirts true emotional complexity in favor of often crude humor (i.e. Mark’s drink is spiked with Ex-Lax, resulting in a scene reminiscent of Dumb and Dumber), screenwriter Melissa Stack flirts with depth when exploring Kate’s feelings. She’s torn between trying to forgive and forget her husband’s lying versus simply serving up vigilante relationship justice. Every time she considers staying put, something reminds her that her husband is essentially a pathological cheater. This material could’ve been mined for much heavier drama and much darker comedy, but unfortunately director Nick Cassavetes and producer Julie Yorn have chosen to settle for mostly cheap, easy-going laughs. As a harmless way to spend a couple hours, however, it’s certainly a watchable lark (thanks mainly to the endearing chemistry between Diaz and Mann).
Solid tech specs on 20th Century Fox’s Blu-ray make The Other Woman a pleasure to take in on a purely sensorial level. The high definition transfer and lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack are spot on (even if the audio mix could’ve probably used a little more oomph in places). Special features are slight, limited to a handful of deleted scenes and a pair of outtakes reels. The Blu-ray package also includes a digital copy.
Images: 20th Century Fox