THE OTHER WOMAN ★★☆M, 109 minutes. Now playing. Director: Nick Cassavetes Stars: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton
Don’t get mad, get even, is the clarion call which brings together the ill-assorted trio of women at the palpitating heart of Nick Cassavetes’ new comedy.
It’s a sentiment which echoes the theme of the 1996 hit, The First Wives Club, in which Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn and Bette Midler united in the spirit of female solidarity to bring down their faithless husbands. The same sort of thing is going on here – with a few concessions to contemporary raunch culture.
The costume designer is Patricia Field, architect of the Sex and the City look, and while the film doesn’t try to compete with Bridesmaids, it has more bodily function jokes than would ever have reached the screen in 1996 in any movie outside the Farrelly Brothers’ oeuvre.
To add to the fun, the main victim of all this flatulence is the Danish glamour boy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, alias Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. He’s playing Mark, the errant husband, who’s been cheating on his girlfriend, Carly (Cameron Diaz), as well as his wife, Kate (Leslie Mann). Mutually outraged, the two women band together to seek revenge, gathering up a new ally along the way when they meet Mark’s latest girlfriend, Amber (Kate Upton) and discover that she’s just as disgusted as they are by his sleazy behaviour.
Mann has been playing wives for some time now in the films she’s done with her husband, Judd Apatow. All of them have been discontented to some degree and all sound the same. She just adjusts the dial on her delivery. Thanks to the whine in her voice, every line she utters is pitched on an extended upward inflection, producing a weird effect. It’s as if an electric drill was making a sincere effort to sound affable. This time, she goes for broke.
Kate is a compound of ditz and doormat. She wears little dresses in vintage floral prints and cheerfully caters to her husband’s every need. When she finds out that he’s a cheat, she has hysterics, seeking out her rival, Carly, and performing a full slapstick routine. Carly is her antithesis.
Diaz has been making a specialty of hard-boiled chicks since Bad Teacher (2011) and this one is a lawyer with a cynical view of marriage. She wears killer heels and a wardrobe which benefits mightily from Field’s knowledge of up-to-the-minute New York designers.
She and Kate make the oddest of couples and, for a while, their partnership is pretty funny, but everything in this movie is overcooked and pushed far beyond its power to amuse. In the end, it becomes a screeching bore.