As frothy as the whole thing is, director Nick Cassavetes maybe could’ve infused the plot with a little more zip. At 109 minutes, there are more than a few superfluous moments. Mark King (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is a conniving, cutthroat businessman married to Kate (Mann). But he’s dating Carly (Diaz), who has no idea he’s married. When Carly shows up at the King residence one night to “fix Mark’s plumbing” (at the slightly perverse urging of her father, played by Don Johnson in a thankless cameo), both women are hipped to the truth about Mark’s indiscretions.
With her world turned absolutely upside down, Kate turns to Carly for guidance on how to deal with her newly troubled marriage. Fast becoming the “weirdest friends in the world,” the two women agree to keep their knowledge of Mark’s two-timing ways strictly between them. Carly refuses to take Mark’s calls, while Kate feigns a headache whenever her husband is in the mood. Their plan to take revenge goes into overdrive when they discover Mark has a second mistress, vivacious young Amber (Kate Upton). Soon enough, the three of them conspire to dose Mark with estrogen supplements and Ex-Lax. They also dig a little deeper into his business dealings.
Most of the gags are predictable, as are the plot turns. Carly immediately hits it off with Kate’s brother Phil (Taylor Kinney); no prize for figuring out where that relationship is headed. Upton isn’t given any heavy lifting; she mostly just has to look great in a bikini. Singer-rapper Nicki Minaj is given even less to do as Carly’s secretary. But again, this is Diaz and Mann’s show and they have great chemistry. The most interesting aspect of their odd friendship involves Carly’s steely pragmatism in the face of Mark’s cheating, versus Kate’s understandably mixed feelings. As the wife, Kate has more to lose by admitting that it’s time to cut Mark loose. Mann does a great job with the delicate balancing act of showing that Kate hates Mark while still loving him.
As increasingly rare as it’s becoming, The Other Woman was shot on 35mm film by cinematographer Robert Fraisse. 20th Century Fox’s transfer is quite eye-pleasing, with a naturally filmic look that offers razor-sharp, detailed images. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix could’ve probably been a little more aggressive. The rear channels aren’t terribly active, which is generally par for the course with this type of comedy anyway. The emphasis is squarely on the dialogue, which presents no issues.
For a solid box office performer, The Other Woman isn’t tricked out with many special features. About ten minutes of deleted/alternate scenes offer a little more Nicki Minaj, which should please her fans considering her screen time in the final cut is so limited. A standard-issue “Gag Reel” is marred by some annoying, omnipresent power-chord rock. “Giggle Fit” expands one bit glimpsed in the bloopers, showing how difficult it was for Mann and Diaz to get through a particular scene without busting up.
The Other Woman is never as funny as it should be, and it really falls flat when it tries to get serious. But as a lightly entertaining time-passer, you could do a lot worse. Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann deserved sharper writing, but they make a great team nonetheless.