“All I can say is I hope in The Other Woman‘s case, the three beautiful actresses got paid more than writer Melissa Stack.”

Nick Cassavetes’ The Other Woman has just enough girl power in it to become an easy favorite for any girls night outing between college-age girls and middle-aged women, but anybody looking for anything a bit more substantial than a piece of springtime fluff should keep on searching; they have a lot of ground to cover and need not waste time here. For every hilarious one-liner and montage the film bears (including the perfect use of Cyndi Lauper’s often overplayed “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”), the film has to resort to scatological humor or placing a man’s toothbrush in the toilet or the mouth of a dog to get a cheap laugh from the audience.

The film begins by showing a young woman named Carly (Cameron Diaz), who is dating Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a sneaky but damn good looking investment banker. In an attempt at remedying a recent fight between the two, Carly waltzes over to Mark’s home in sexy-plumber garb (there is such a thing) and is thrown a loop when Kate (Leslie Mann), Mark’s wife, answers the door. After obvious initial contention, Carly and Kate wind up becoming close to each other, despite Carly’s inherently bossy nature and Kate’s inherently whiny attitude, trying to get back at the man who played them both.

The Other Woman 
Directed by
Nick Cassavetes
Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton
Release Date
25 April 2014
Steve’s Grade: D+

However, things only get further complicated when they realize Mark is cheating on both of them with Amber (Kate Upton), a beauty with a jaw-droppingly perfect physique, regardless if not a lot of gears are turning upstairs. In order to corrupt Mark’s plans from the inside, doing everything from adding hormones to his smoothies or toying with his investments, Carly, Kate, and Amber must team up and work together.

All I can say is I hope in The Other Woman‘s case, the three beautiful actresses got paid more than writer Melissa Stack. The always welcoming Cameron Diaz, the underrated Leslie Mann, and model-turned-actress Kate Upton all supply the film with their beauty and their energy from the opening frames to the closing credits in a charming, zealous way that disguises Stack’s lame inclusions of sight gags.

In addition, the performance of the opposite sex likely to go under the radar (sort of like how Mary Steenburgen’s role as a lounge singer was criminally undervalued in “Last Vegas”) is of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who really gets time to shine during the last few scenes of the film. Coster-Waldau plays just the right amount of slick and sly, despite being shafted in personality because of how the three leads monopolize the entire picture.

The performance that will likely not be remembered as anything but an attempt at acting is Nicki Minaj’s in a shallow and demeaning role as Carly’s friend and co-worker, who gives the women of the audience the lovely advice that when you’re beautiful you don’t have to work hard at all. The fact that Minaj’s nasally and smug voice grates is enough, but her character’s ability to conjure up degrading advice to women as she sits back typing on a computer in a leopard outfit with fake hair, fake nails, and a body that look like it’s filled with air makes Kim Kardashian’s performance in “Tyler Perry’s Temptation” seem like cinematic subversiveness.

Upton, another person whose career in acting didn’t come first, isn’t given such a degrading role as much as a shortchanging one. While Cassavetes nor Stack give her the obligatory “too dumb to function” role of a female with well-developed features, they simply don’t give her much to do. Upton is the kind of woman I hope to see in a film that possesses a real chance at that year’s Academy Awards. However, after “The Other Woman,” those calls may not be coming in so fast.

The Other Woman is just a tad bit more reliable and fulfilling than the picturesque and dreadful romance films we’re subjected to every year, but it begs the question, ‘are there any films geared toward women that are good anymore?’ When did “chick-flick” mean shallow, unrealistic romantic comedies that oversimplify ideas of marriage and love and go straight for incredulous romance or sight gags? Just when The Other Woman is about to approach real insights about how infidelity can destroy a person’s mental stability, confidence, and entire world, it decides to mock it, portraying Leslie Mann as a comedic vice rather than someone to really sympathize with. As someone who loves Mann and loves seeing what she can do, seeing her portrayed as an emotional basket-case mainly for comedic relief is something I simply don’t want to see again anytime soon. After working with her husband Judd Apatow on numerous projects, she deserves better, along with Diaz and Upton, who will hopefully involve themselves with better films in the near-future.

Review by Lead Film Critic, Steve Pulaski