“The Other Woman” is a comedy that really shouldn’t work at all seeing how there isn’t a funny scripted line in the entire picture. There are two things that come close to salvaging the film, though: Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann. Both actresses, who have been doing respectable comedic work for almost two decades each, are charged with the thankless task of making unfunny material funny. The two are so good in their roles that they almost make “The Other Woman” worthwhile. Unfortunately, not even the most gifted comedians can make the flattest of scripts work.
Melissa Stack’s screenplay at least starts out with an intriguing premise with Diaz’s Carly being pursued by a handsome stud named Mark. He’s played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who is best known for his work as the despicable Jaime Lannister on “Game of Thrones” and is every bit as despicable here. Turns out that Mark is married to Mann’s Kate, an absent-minded housewife who is completely oblivious to her husband’s philandering nature. Carly and Kate finally realize what a pig Mark truly is after crossing paths one night. Rather than hating the woman who’s been sleeping with her husband, Kate becomes drawn to Carly and wants to get to know her better. Although Carly wants nothing to do with Mark anymore, she simply can’t shake off the clingy Kate.
If you’re willing to believe these characters would actually become friends, you might be surprised to find that Diaz and Mann have a wonderful chemistry. Diaz’s straight woman perfectly complements Mann’s neurotic airhead, making for a terrific odd couple. In the hands of somebody like Katherine Heigl or Sarah Jessica Parker, these women could easily come off as too desperate and needy. Diaz and Mann find just the right balance to make their characters likable, however.
A third girl is later added to the mix when it’s revealed that Mark has another lover named Amber, played by the stunning, but only marginally talented, Kate Upton. The three ladies decide to team up and get revenge on Mark. Their methods include sneaking laxatives into his drinks, putting hair removal cream in his shampoo, and making him think he has an STD. Yeah, it’s one of those kinds of movies. Then to make matters more predictable, we also have to put up with a dull romance between Carly and Kate’s brother and the wisecracks of Carly’s secretary, who for some reason is played by Nicki Minaj.
“The Other Woman” closely resembles the 1980 comedy “Nine to Five” with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton. That film worked thanks to the dynamic between the leading ladies and some well-timed comedic situations. “The Other Woman” has the right leading ladies, but just doesn’t have any inspired comedic moments. Instead, Director Nick Cassavetes gives us a lot of gags involving dog feces, human feces, walking through glass walls, falling out of windows, basically a lot of slapstick that goes nowhere. Yet, throughout all of this, Diaz and Mann still shine as much as any performers can in a mediocre movie. Now what we really need is the people behind “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” to write these two actresses a proper buddy picture.
• Ahwatukee native and Desert Vista graduate Nick Spake is a student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.