Monday, April 28, 2014

The Other Woman

This is likely to be another controversial review amongst some of my friends, so right off the bat I want to say that I'm sorry for what you are about to read. Like my previous reviews of Pitch Perfect, What to Expect When You're Expecting, and Breaking Dawn, I'm pretty sure I'm not the target demographic for this film. A lot of my readers are probably jumping to the conclusion that I have some kind of bias towards romantic comedies. While it's true that I haven't recommended many recent rom-coms, I am a pretty big fan of the genre as a whole. I've previously referenced my love for (500) Days of Summer as well as older films like While You Were Sleeping and You've Got Mail. Judging solely from the trailer I knew what kind of film I was going to get, but I tried to go in with as open a mind as possible.

Carly is a successful lawyer who has a seemingly great relationship with her boyfriend, Mark. However, when he refuses to meet her father for drinks, Carly decides to surprise him at his Connecticut home in a skanky plumber's outfit. But rather than her boyfriend, Carly is instead greeted by his lovely and blissfully ignorant wife, Kate. After Carly's strange visit, Kate begins to put two-and-two together and travels to New York to confront her husband's mistress. Once she realizes that Carly was also deceived by Mark, Kate is determined to become friends with the lawyer, who only wants to get vengeance on her cheating boyfriend. Together they realize that Mark is not only cheating on both of them with a plethora of other women, but that he is also embezzling his partner and framing Kate for the crime.

Most of this film is devoted to drunken hijinks and typical chick flick montages of dancing and laughing (seriously, there's even a scene set to "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"). The Other Woman has all the trappings of a film written by a first-time screenwriter, which I later found out is exactly the case. It seems like the writer cherry-picked common tropes from the genre and stuffed them together without much thought to the story. Almost every part of this movie is directly lifted from other rom-coms, specifically John Tucker Must Die. For those who don't know that film, it basically centers around a group of girls who find out that they've been dating the same guy and then conspire to take revenge on him. Even that film isn't one I would recommend necessarily, but I couldn't believe how similar it is to The Other Woman, down to pouring estrogen capsules in the antagonists drink. It's unfortunate that Hollywood insists on churning out these cliche-riddled chick flicks rather than actually trying to do something original.

In some ways, it isn't surprising that this film was originally rated R, only changing to PG-13 following an appeal by the studio. The stupidity alone fits the bill of "restricted" in my opinion. Having said that, the biggest problems weren't the parts that insulted my intelligence, though a few moments literally had my jaw dropped in complete incredulity (particularly the incoherent conclusion). The main issue I have with The Other Woman is its total aimlessness. The characters are simply running around in circles, not accomplishing much and indulging in countless bits that seem to have been made up on the spot. Having seen where this film goes and replaying it in my mind, there are so many things that either don't pay off or make absolutely no sense. I had to restrain myself from pointing out every plot hole or completely pointless scene while we were in the theater, though by the time the final confrontation occurred I couldn't resist it any longer.

But despite all that, I think there's still a good movie in the middle of all this garbage they're passing off as humor. Take away all the dog poop jokes, the nauseatingly extended diarrhea scenes, and even the gratuitous shots of Kate Upton's... uh, acting talents... and they may have come up with something that didn't make you feel dumber when the credits rolled. With a different director and screenwriter as well as a few casting alterations (yeah, you basically have to strip this movie to the bone), I think this could have been a really good dramatic story about two women coming to terms with their relationships being a complete lie and finding a friendship with each other as a result. They could have even left in some of Leslie Mann's comedic moments, since she was easily the funniest part of the film. I think it was a mistake in terms of good storytelling to make this a slap-stick, low brow comedy that is ultimately forgettable.

If you haven't sniffed it out yet, this movie is a complete stinker. Trust me and the other critics on this one and don't spend your money. I wish this movie had been better, because I feel like Hollywood is due for another memorable, touching, hilarious and enjoyable romantic comedy. Unfortunately, The Other Woman is nothing more than a two star movie.

THE OTHER WOMAN is rated PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language