Critical Mass: Is 'The Other Woman' for Him or Her?

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Image Credit: Barry Wetcher

For a film vaguely about female empowerment, The Other Women has a cast that is sure to inspire a lot of husbands and boyfriends. The always-winning Leslie Mann (This is 40) plays a manic housewife who discovers that her wealthy husband (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is sleeping with a high-powered attorney (Cameron Diaz), who finds out that he’s also sleeping with a voluptuous Amazon (swimsuit supermodel Kate Upton), who learns that he might be three-timing her with yet another beautiful woman. Naturally, the trio team up to dish out some 9 to 5, The First Wives Club style revenge.

Directed by The Notebook director Nick Cassavetes and written by first-timer Melissa Stack, “the movie becomes an inspired oddball buddy comedy for a good half-hour, until the pair track down Upton and all three — ”the wife, the lawyer, the boobs” — join forces to take Coster-Waldau down,” writes EW’s Leah Greenblatt. “That’s when the movie gets sillier, and a lot more slapstick.”

Read Greenblatt’s entire review, as well as a round-up of other notable critics, below.

Leah Greenblatt (Entertainment Weekly)
Sisterhood comedies, as rare as they are in the testosterone glut of sequels and superheroes, have been done smarter and better. Still, this one has its own wonky charm and intermittent moments of genuine, depraved hilarity; it’s like Bridesmaids drawn in crayon.

Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Written on the knife edge between farce and naturalism by newcomer Melissa K. Stack, it’s directed with precision and balance by Nick Cassavetes and put over expertly by the cast. The advertisements might look dumb, but the movie isn’t.”

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky (The A.V. Club)
“Somewhere around the 60-minute mark, director Nick Cassavetes — whose career makes one wish that John Cassavetes had been a better father — pushes the movie into Tyler Perry territory, with the final third playing as a tone-deaf mixture of wish fulfillment, punishment, and bawdy innuendo.

Betsy Sharkey (Los Angeles Times)
“[Diaz] still has that mega-watt smile, but she hasn’t got all the aging-gracefully kinks worked out of her comedy, as disappointing films like Bad Teacher and Knight and Day have demonstrated. The Other Woman is a better forum for her talents, but barely.”

Justin Chang (Variety)
“There’s room to argue over whether The Other Woman is ultimately a femme-empowering celebration of decency and monogamy, or a hopelessly retrograde portrait of scheming, backbiting women incapable of defining themselves apart from a man, even if it’s a man they happen to despise.”

Ann Hornaday (Washington Post) ▼
“The unpromising screenwriting debut of Melissa Stack seems to have been cobbled together from any number of other, not necessarily better, movies, resulting in a tonal mish-mash of scatology, physically contorting pratfalls and, only occasionally, genuinely observant behavioral comedy.”

Liam Lacey (Toronto Globe and Mail)
“How you respond to The Other Woman depends a lot on how you tolerate Mann’s performance, a deliberately grating turn (think Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy, Bill Murray in What About Bob?) that stomps all over your comfort zone.”

Stephen Holden (New York Times)
“In one of the movie’s many conceptual misfires, Ms. Mann’s Kate is a whining, hysterical basket case. Although the role has a few charming moments, it is so overplayed that after a certain point you may want to put fingers in your ears to blot out her shrill, childish harangues.”

Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)
“[Diaz and Mann] both grate at certain moments, but they’re funny and ingratiating too, certainly willing to look foolish in the knowledge that they’re playing for the winning team. Upton does what she’s called upon to do, look great in a bikini, and rarely has more than one line to speak at a time.”

Ty Burr (Boston Globe) ▼
The Other Woman is one of those loud, cringe-y female-empowerment comedies that feels like it was made by people who hate women. It’s about a trio of heroines who free themselves from their three-timing man by obsessing about him constantly…”

Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times) ▼
“‘Mission: Impossible’ during a supposedly comedic spy sequence? ‘New York, New York’ as a hotshot character wheels his $300,000 sports car through the streets of Manhattan? ‘Love Is a Battlefield’ because love is, you know, a battlefield? Come on. Are we making this movie for people who have never seen movies?”

The Other Woman
Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 38
Rotten Tomatoes: 24 percent

Rated: PG-13
Length: 109 minutes
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

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