The Other Woman (20th Century Fox, PG-13)

theotherwoman 75It’s of that rare Joel Schumacher/Chris Columbus-level bad, where not only do you hate it, you seethe at the people in the audience who seem to be enjoying it. 

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Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that The Other Woman is terrible, but I kind of am. The people behind the marketing of the film deserve some kind of award, because the campaign makes it look like it could be enjoyable. The bits of the film the trailer shows are funny in the context of the trailer, where they aren’t funny in the context of the movie. (To be clear, this isn’t one of those things where all of the good parts are in the trailer; there are no good parts. It’s just that somehow the trailer makes them look less awful than they actually are.) The premise, where a cheating man’s wife, unknowing mistress, and very young unknowing mistress all get together to exact revenge on the man seems like a potentially promising romp—I like a good “men are pigs” film—and the cast, which features Leslie Mann as the wife, Cameron Diaz as the unknowing mistress, Kate Upton as the very young unknowing mistress, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the cheating man, all at least sometimes turn in good work, with the exception of Upton. I like the poster image of the wedding ring/brass knuckles combo.

But Christ, did I hate this film. It’s of that rare Joel Schumacher/Chris Columbus-level bad, where not only do you hate it, you seethe at the people in the audience who seem to be enjoying it. Nick Cassavetes, of The Notebook fame, is the director here, and I’m convinced that he’s actively trying to desecrate the Cassavetes family name in Hollywood; I’m a big fan of his father John, mother Gena Rowlands, and sister Xan.

You probably don’t need more of the plot synopsis to get what happens in this film, but to be a little more specific it gets rolling when successful businesswoman Carly (Diaz) decides to surprise her boyfriend of two months Mark (Coster-Waldau, who you may recognize as Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones; good luck taking him seriously in that role again after this) at home, only to find him gone but his wife, Kate (Mann), there. Kate’s got some problems, but stupidity isn’t one of them, and she begins to stalk Carly, but in a friendly manner. They strike up a reluctant and tenuous friendship, but as they spend time together they discover that Mark’s still making questionable excuses to not be around even when he isn’t with either one of them, which is what leads them to Amber (Upton).

Kate Upton is the relatively unknown quantity in this film, acting-wise, and her presence will probably lure a lot of a certain type of male to the theatre to see this film, where they otherwise wouldn’t be caught dead watching it. Upton, if you don’t know the name, has been on two of the last three Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue covers, and it seems like everyone in the world has seen that “Cat Daddy” video that Terry Richardson took of her a year or two ago. The film requires her basically only to A) be young, B) have big boobs, and C) act dumb, which seems like it would be easy enough. (They also find excuses to make her run in a bikini and twerk.) But if you pay attention, she can almost never get through even a single line of dialogue without them having to cut away from her, which leads me to believe that she basically never got any line readings anywhere near right. She’s not helped in this by clunky editing and ADR work, which highlights how quickly the camera has to show you something else when Amber has a line or two of dialogue.

In fairness, though, even the seasoned actors are irritating as hell here. Cameron Diaz hasn’t been this bad in a while (though the trailer for the upcoming Annie implies that she is soon to be this bad again), and Leslie Mann is rarely good outside of the roles that husband Judd Apatow directs her in, and she’s not always even good in those. The person who comes off the least irritating of the main cast is Nicki Minaj, as Carly’s assistant Lydia, but her relative lack of annoyance perhaps speaks to the fact that she doesn’t really have a lot of screen time, so she just doesn’t get as many opportunities to be awful as everyone else. | Pete Timmermann

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