Directed by Nick Cassavetes, Starring Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
I’m not a fan of talking about women or feminism. I am mostly apathetic to the treatment of females in media, and taking any side will offend somebody or make me seem ignorant about the issues. However, in this context I feel the need to say something. “The Other Woman” is a comedy made by women and for women that seems to oppose women. The three main women all fit negative stereotypes that seem to be the least progressive thing that could have been written. Cameron Diaz is a shrew, Leslie Mann is a bimbo, and Kate Upton is a large pair of breasts to be objectified. These women spend the entire film talking about, scheming for, and generally dedicating their lives to a man. Every single action by each of the three characters is motivated in some way by a man. The women, even though they are the protagonists, do not get any character traits outside of being the wife, the mistress, and the hot one. They are defined only by their relationship to their man, in the way a very minor wife character or a 70’s sitcom would treat its female roles. I am forced to confront it because of the hypocrisy. The film acts like it empowers women, showing them taking control of a relationship, when all it really shows are three women stuck in the past who cannot move past a bad relationship and do increasingly desperate things to get his attention. And this man should not be worthy of any women. He cheated on his wife with at least 3 other women. His wife especially should be kicking him to the curb, not seeking his approval. The whole message is backwards.
I could forgive most of this if the film was funny, but there are very few laughs to be found. Leslie Mann is especially obnoxious, and being obnoxious intentionally does not make the character less grating. It’s bad material given to a bad actress, and it leads to shrill speeches that are nearly unlistenable because of unnecessarily loud crying and high pitched shouting. Kate Upton is a wooden model who someone let act because she is physically attractive. Every joke from or about her is about her youth, her breasts, or her butt. Cameron Diaz is competent as the straight woman, and her jokes aren’t awful, but they are lazy. More often than not they are simply making fun of Mann for being annoying or Upton for being hot and empty. A small number of the jokes land, but the repetitive subject prevents them from being consistently funny. Personally, I thought the funniest thing in the film was Mann’s dog, which had good physical comedy and a variety of jokes. Most of the supporting cast is fine, although none of them get much to do. And then there was Nikolaj, an actor with no history of comedy work who is known for being attractive and being Jamie Lannister. His performance is bad. He has no chemistry with any other member of the cast, and his timing is off. It always felt like he was too slow to get his lines out. He is far too serious for the film, playing his character as a serious and dark figure. This only holds up until the last 10 minutes, when he becomes a cartoon character. He is frustrated that his plan did not work out, and Nikolaj is going to let you know that he’s frustrated by screaming a variation of “No! You’re lying! This isn’t happening!”, all while punching air, running through walls, and at one point literally jumping off the ground repeatedly while whining. It was hilarious in its awfulness, but at a point it became hard to watch this decent actor embarrass himself.