And thus, is a great comic duo born.
“The Other Woman” is a female empowerment comedy and buddy picture, a PG-13 “Bridesmaids,” as if that was even possible. But it is, because of Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann.
Diaz, whom future generations will look back on in awe that anybody so skinny/sexy could be so very scary, takes the straight-woman role to Mann, an under-rated comedienne who hasn’t worked nearly as much as she should have in the years and years since she married comic brand name Judd Apatow.
This farce, about a romantically jaded lawyer, Carly (Diaz) who realizes her new love of the past two months is actually married to a prattling, scattered but sweet housewife (Mann), gives Diaz a few pratfalls, a lot of pricey clothes and the occasional bikini, and Mann every thing else. Especially every funny thing.
Mann’s “Kate” all but collapses, on learning the truth in the Carly’s office.
“Does this open?” she mumbles, groping and poking, dazed, at a wall-sized window she’d like to jump through.
“You had sex with my husband…fifty times? Don’t you have a JOB?”
She cries to Carly, drinks with Carly, badgers Carly with calls.
“Just wanted to keep you in the loop.”
“Take me OUTTA the loop!”
And she drops in, uninvited, on Carly’s swank city apartment.
“I don’t want to sit anywhere you and Mark had sex.”
Mann, who stole “Knocked Up”, plays a great drunk. Pouring her into Carly’s chauffeured Town Car is like watching Buster Keaton in high heels.
Worldwise Carly gets why Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) would cheat on Kate. She’s a clingy ditz, unable to train her Great Dane, catering to her entrepreneur hubby’s every need. Even Kate gets that.
“I am like Martha Stewart with big underpants!”
But Kate wins Carly’s sympathy, and ours.
The Diaz/Mann pairing is helped by a pair of funny supporting players — pop singer Nicki Minaj, a Picasso-parody of what real women look like, plays Carly’s secretary, and Don Johnson plays her five-times-married massage addict of a father.
“Don’t make fun of ‘Nam,” he bellows. “Best years of my life!”
And then the ladies meet a third “other woman.” Voluptuous model Kate Upton plays her, and while it’s not her fault that this Nick Cassavetes comedy hits the wall when she shows up, she’s no actress. Parking her next to Diaz and Mann probably scared the wits out of the older women, but Upton looks like a cheerful, chipmunk-cheeked collection of shapely, dull-eyed baby fat next to them.
Cassavetes plays around with the soundtrack, underscoring Kate’s “little Edith Piaf moment” breakdown with a funny-sad cover of “La Vie en Rose,” getting a little too on-the-nose by using “Mission: Impossible” music for Kate and Carly stalking Mark as he sneaks off to cheat.
It’s too long , and gets more obvious the longer it goes. The villain is weak and Minaj’s caricature seems straight out of a Tyler Perry picture. But Melissa K. Stack’s script has snap and crackle to go with the pop, making this female wish-fulfillment fantasy an “Eat, Pray, Revenge” that delivers the punches that two “Sex and the City” movies never could.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Don Johnson, Nicki Minaj
Credits: Directed by Nick Cassavetes, written by Melissa K. Stack. A Fox release.
Running time: 1:49
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