BY AMBER KELLY-ANDERSON
It’s hard to be an action movie kind of girl in a chick flick kind of world, particularly when chick flicks are generally such antiquated drivel. Thus when a chick flick comes along that is more than face value, it’s worth giving it a chance. Such is the case with The Other Woman starring just-one-of-guys gal Cameron Diaz and Apatow supporting player (on screen and off) Leslie Mann.
Mann is Kate, a babbling suburban wife who has drained her life of any identity beyond being married to Mark (Game of Throne’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a man who compulsively cheats on her and uses her ideas to further his own shifty career. When sex-bomb lawyer Carly (Diaz) turns up on Kate’s porch dressed as a naughty plumber to surprise her “boyfriend” Mark, Kate begins to come undone. Part of her unravelling is attempting to befriend Carly, in part because she has no friends of her own. As the women form an awkward but often funny bond, they discover another of Mark’s hidden women, Amber (Kate Upton). Together the three ladies embark on a series of sometimes silly, sometimes fitting takedowns to punish Mark.
What works for The Other Woman is that it is not a movie trying to sell true love or even the need for it. Instead, like The First Wives Club, it looks at the importance of women working together and bonding without the need for male companionship. Although two of the women do find love at the end, it is more of an afterthought. Front and center are the bonds of friendship. There is a decent balance of raunchy humor, slapstick and self-awareness that works in the film’s favour, although some of the scenes, such as Mark stuck in a bathroom after consuming a laxative laced cocktail, demean the smarter scenes.
In her film debut, Upton is appropriately beautiful and slightly spacey as Amber, and both Nicki Minaj and Don Johnson have brief, but satisfying appearances. As for Diaz, she is in her element playing Carly, a spin on that fun girl persona she polished with The Sweetest Thing and There’s Something About Mary. But the star here is Mann whose willingness to make Kate as ridiculous as she is sympathetic works not just for the character, but the entire movie. If Diaz is the cool girl who guys want to be with, Mann is the wacky friend women want to have to get drunk with and sing Pat Benatar.