New film The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann, deserves credit for being somewhat original. It combines a story about a cheating spouse with one about female friendship in a way that has rarely, if ever, been done before.
Cameron Diaz plays Carly, who goes on for weeks in a relationship with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) before discovering that he’s actually married to Kate (Leslie Mann). Kate, understandably devastated by the revelation, turns to Carly, the only person who understands the situation, for support.
The idea that a cuckolded wife would be friends with her husband’s mistress seems like a stretch, but it actually has a whiff of believability.
Before long, the unlikely duo is scheming ways to get back at Mark, especially when they find out that he’s not only been cheating on Kate with Carly, but on both of them with Amber (Kate Upton). With Amber on board as well, Mark learns what hell three women scorned can unleash.
The idea that a cuckolded wife would become any kind of friend with her husband’s mistress seems like a stretch, but the way it’s initially played by director Nick Cassavetes and writer Melissa Stack, it actually has a whiff of believability. Carly’s steeliness joined with Kate’s unhinged demeanor makes for an appealing combination.
It also helps that Diaz and Mann are almost exactly the same age, putting them on equal footing despite their characters’ having completely different life experiences. If anything, those differences only make their interactions more convincing.
Unfortunately, the movie can’t leave well enough alone, going off the rails a bit when it comes time for them to exact their revenge. Those sections feel like a completely different movie, and that back-and-forth prevents the movie from being as successful as it could be.
Diaz is the bold name in the cast, but Mann is truly the star. Aside from the awful This is 40, this is Mann’s first opportunity to shine, and she makes the most of it. Kate is always on the edge of flipping out, and it’s a glorious thing to watch.
Her chemistry with Diaz is great, and this is a role Diaz has needed for a while as well. Carly is far from your typical mistress, and Diaz uses her strengths to deliver a well-rounded character.
The supporting actors, like Game of Thrones’ Coster-Waldau, Upton, Nicki Minaj, Don Johnson and Taylor Kinney, range from so-so to downright awful, so it’s just as well that Mann and Diaz carry most of the load.
The Other Woman is a pleasant surprise in some ways, putting a strong, if unorthodox, female relationship at the forefront. But in the end it caves in too much to mainstream demands, leaving it as just a slightly above-average effort.