The term 'chick flick' was thought up for the express purpose of describing the film The Other Woman, but it's not as bad as it seems.
As a genre, I hate chick flicks. I hate their frivolity, I hate their sexist opinions of what is funny to women and I hate the obligatory character trait that every lead has: the romance starved desire to find a man. Maybe screenwriter Melissa Stacks feels the same way, because The Other Woman really does not have any of these clichés.
Carly, played by Cameron Diaz, is a New York City lawyer and self sufficient woman. She meets a seemingly wonderful man Mark, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and a whirlwind romance ensues. Hoping to surprise him at his house, she unexpectedly shows up to find his wife Kate, Leslie Mann, at the door. Kate’s happy Connecticut housewife life is turned upside down by the discovery of the affair and she turns to Carly for emotional support, advice and maybe a little retribution.
Mann plays the typical crazy archetype similar to the majority of her previous roles. At times it is distracting, excessive and desperately in need of being reigned in. Diaz is the definitive star of the film (this coming from someone who is not typically a fan of her acting). Her character is strong, independent, and no nonsense which plays wonderfully against Mann’s neurosis.
Given the premise within The Other Woman, the comedy easily could’ve been the most deplorable systematic cliché of a film. Instead, writer Stacks and director Nick Cassavetes refreshingly allow the women to join forces against the scuzzball philanderer rather than cattily and vindictively gun for his affection.
Cassavetes is a veteran director in the film industry and it shows with the minute details within the film. The Connecticut housewife drives a Volvo and wears brightly colored Tory Burch attire, lamenting of her potential Norwalk destination as a future divorcee. The entirety of The Other Woman is peppered with moments like these, some explicitly touched upon and others left for subconscious effect.
The film loses its spark in the third act promptly after introduction of the final mistress, played by Kate Upton. She is a minor character with very little lines but her novice acting is a glaring diversion from the rest of the tone of The Other Woman. At this point the movie turns into a generic and formulaic rom-com, neither notable or remarkable, and it lost my attention.
The Other Woman is a comedy geared toward women but is funny, even for those females that don’t expect it to be. Even though it loses steam substantially in its final third it should be a fun one-time watch.