Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a lawyer who thinks she’s found the perfect man – the handsome, romantic Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). However when she tries to surprise him at his home, she discovers he’s not there, but his wife is. While Carly is ready to just dump Mark and never see him again, his wife, Kate (Leslie Mann), isn’t about to let it lie, and soon the two team up teach him a lesson.
However neither of them is prepared for the fact that Mark has another, even younger woman that he’s dating (Kate Upton), and may also be involved in some shady dealing. Together all three women set out to take revenge.
There’s no doubt that The Other Woman has a lot going for it – talented and funny actresses, a good director and a premise that offers plenty of opportunity for laughs. However, while it finds a modicum of fun, a lot of the time it feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.
The problem is that like many other female-led comedies put into production by male executives, it feels like it’s a movie made for women but which is actually aimed at men. Indeed there’s an odd edge to the film where you wonder whether it even likes women at all – despite having a female screenwriter.
There are moments where it seems to be suggesting that a woman’s worth is in their relationship with men (even when it’s says the message is the opposit), and even the women’s revenge involves things such as giving Mark oestogen so he becomes more like a woman (what a terrible punishment), and all the hilarity of making him kiss a woman who is obviously a burly man in a dress.
Nor does it help that the three main women are more stereotypes than people. Carly is the high-powered business ice queen, Kate is the high-maintenance slightly neurotic housewife, while Amber never goes far beyond blond bimbo. Despite occasional attempts to say it’s trying to break down the ideas of these women, most of the movie in spent reinforcing them.
It makes the ‘we’re all women together’ message the film seems to be going for ring a bit hollow.
It is a shame as there are hints that this could have been something very funny and also very empowering, but the fact it feels like every joke has had to be approved by someone with a penis rather neuters it.
Overall Verdict: Plenty of talent can’t hide the fact that this is a female-led comedy that doesn’t really like women all that much, even when it’s saying men are dogs.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac