Though it combines Cameron Diaz’s celebrity, Leslie Mann’s comedic talents, and Kate Upton’s looks, The Other Woman is a mess with a predictable storyline, overused jokes, and plot holes so large, you have to suspend even romantic comedy logic to accept them.
Diaz plays a role she has taken on before: an uptight lawyer named Carly who is tired of the dating scene and is further disillusioned when she discovers her boyfriend, Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), is actually married. When Mark tells her he is going out of town, she goes to his house and tries to seduce him, only to meet a woman who introduces herself as his wife, Kate (Mann). A reluctant Carly befriends Kate and finds herself an unlikely ally to a woman who has just lost everything. As the plot progresses, Calry and Kate discover that Mark is cheating on both of them with a third woman, Amber (Upton). After explaining the situation to Amber, the three of them team up to take their revenge on Mark and serve him justice through pranks like hair-removal shampoo and putting oestrogen in his morning smoothie.
While one expects a happy ending with a film like The Other Woman, things go so spectacularly well for the lead characters (and equally bad for the villain) that even the feel-good vibe of the film is ruined and made unbelievable. Themes of sisterhood and the rise of the underdog are done without even the slightest hint of subtlety and are milked so dry that they become a chore to watch, with some scenes being particularly painful. In one such scene, three women wake up separately at the crack of dawn, only to find each other at the same place, where they then sit down without any dialogue, with their heads on each other’s shoulders as a pop song plays in the background.
While Mann does her best to entertain and Diaz has the most lines, Upton does not add much to the film, save for a slightly ludicrous but entertaining scene where she runs in a bikini. But the film constantly pokes fun at her seeming lack of contribution to the revenge plan and, therefore, wards off criticism of her odd casting choice.
Another baffling thing about The Other Woman is how some of the lead characters end up with impromptu relationships at the last minute that we are led to believe will last forever. None of these romantic subplots took any time to develop in the shadow of the film’s larger focus, revenge on Mark, and the plot would have been better off without them, instead of caving in to the romantic comedy formula that says lead characters must find suitable partners along the way.
While The Other Woman has a few moments that might make you chuckle, it is exactly what it seems: a Hollywood romantic comedy with trite jokes and a clunky storyline. We aren’t saying it isn’t watchable, but we cannot give good reasons to spend our money watching a 2014 version of the First Wives Club.