In the girls’ night out comedy, “The Other Woman,” a wife and her husband’s two girlfriends team-up to exact revenge against the man who played them all.
As I walked home from the movie theater, I mulled over my initial impressions of “The Other Woman.” The 109 minutes were spent mostly in laughter, shrieks and “oh-no-she-didn’t” moments. But, in my gut, I felt there was more to the story than three hot blondes on a payback mission, an appealing plot for all women who’ve been lied to and cheated on by a man.
This rom-com with a twist opens to a series of typical romantic scenes of a budding relationship between Carly and Mark. We see them canoodling, connecting and falling in love, or so we think. Perhaps it’s lust with the veneer of a respectable relationship? Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a sexy blonde lawyer dating Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) a handsome start-up developer. Sounds like an ideal power couple? Not so fast. Mark has a dirty little secret. Gasp! It’s only a matter of time until Carly finds out, but the audience learns first: he’s married. You know what comes next. The awkward moment when Carly is hit with the truth: cue slapstick comedy.
But as we single gals know, such things happen. And as expected, Carly being a smart woman, drops Mark and avoids his calls. That’s the end of the story for Carly, right? Nope. Her entanglement is only beginning. Kate (Leslie Mann) Mark’s co-dependent suburban housewife tracks her down to confirm the affair.
The showdown unfolds in the lobby of Carly’s law offices, where her co-workers watch the meltdown. Surprised by the truth, Kate unleashes one of the funniest nervous breakdowns in movie history, delivering it with impressive comedic flair.
Kate’s emotional instability leads her to pursue counsel, friendship, and moral support from Carly, despite her ex-mistress status. The friendship is not an easy task. Carly shuts Kate down at every attempt. In the end, Kate’s persistence pays off. Entering unchartered territory, they boldly embark on a journey toward a very awkward yet surprisingly genuine friendship.
Devastated by the betrayal and reluctant to walk away from the marriage, Kate seeks legal advice from Carly and is told to keep a low profile while she gets her ducks in a row before filing for a divorce. To her advantage her husband is clueless of the plan. The antics that follow are easy to predict, as we see Kate struggle with Carly’s advice.
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In the meantime, Mark takes on a new mistress — a young, hot, blonde bombshell Amber (Kate Upton). Troubled by his pathological cheating, Kate leads a “recon” on her husband to learn about the new mistress with Carly tagging along out of morbid curiosity. In a hilarious scene on the beach, the two women decide to share the truth about Mark with Amber. A dismayed Amber quickly bonds with the scorned women and now, as a triad, the three begin their plot for revenge with the singular goal of making Mark suffer. With their combined talents — lawyer, wife and “boobs” — they’re determined to take him down. A complex plan takes shape as they snoop, spy and divide tasks — neatly managed on a big white board set up in Carly’s apartment.
The twists and turns add humor, mayhem and awe as the three pull together in the name of sisterhood to make their three-timing liar pay for his sins. As they dig deeper, they uncover more lies that threaten his career. Skillfully played, those crimes will become leverage for Kate in her divorce demands.
The real fun begins when each woman continues the charade of affection for Mark in order to gain access to him and his secrets. Various pranks and mischief ensue that eventually escalate to a grand finale of well-deserved malevolence.
“The Other Woman” is not your typical rom-com. It adds a dark layer of retribution to the romantic woes of marriage and dating. We ride the crazy train with these driven women as they seek sweet revenge, empowered by female solidarity. Instead of pathetic sobbing over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, they’re taking action. It’s their display of inner-strength and restored self-esteem, supported by friendship that bubbles to the top of this atypical comedy.
Note-worthy additions to the cast include Nicki Minaj who plays Lydia, Carly’s snarky assistant dressed in a variety of wigs and body-conscious dresses that amplify her generous derriere. Don Johnson plays Carly’s father Frank, a savvy senior with a string of failed marriages, the last being to Carly’s sorority sister. Their performances are minor but add a colorful sparkle.
“The Other Woman” is a playful poke and cheeky giggle at the expense of one deserving scoundrel. It reminds us why payback’s a bitch – and funny as hell when it ain’t you.
Copyright © Nadia Dulyn/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.