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OTHER WOMAN, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Carly (Cameron Diaz) is a lawyer in a big firm with a freewheeling lifestyle but when she accidentally discovers that her new-ish boyfriend Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is married, she is furious. Mark's hysterical wife Kate (Leslie Mann) turns up to seek Carly's advice, and before they know it, another new girlfriend turns up, the gorgeous blonde Amber (Kate Upton). The three women decide to seek their revenge on the lying, cheating hustler of a con man.

Review by Louise Keller:
Disarmingly funny in a raucous, slapstick kind of way, this Blonde Power revenge comedy is a laugh a minute, thanks to a bitingly funny script and knock out performances by Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann. First time screenwriter Melissa Stack has constructed a delicious over-the-top scenario in which sex, lies and infidelity are the name of the game. And the game is great fun. Diaz and Mann complement each other beautifully: Diaz is elegantly sexy, countered by superb comic timing, whereas Mann uses her wide-eyed girlie innocence through an onslaught of slapstick. By the time buxom Sports Illustrated Cover Girl Kate Upton bounces on the scene and joins them to teach the adulterous husband (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) a lesson, the impenetrable blonde team of lawyer, wife and boobs is definitely too much for any man.

The film begins with hot sex, flowers, wine and romance, when Carly (Diaz) is seduced by Mark (Coster-Waldau), the handsome, charming start-up company financier with the ultra smooth style and silver Aston Martin convertible. Coster-Waldau plays the suave Lothario to perfection as he is embarrassed, demeaned and disgraced with the help of hormones, laxatives and financial ruin. We are then given snapshots of the contrasting lives of (first) 'the other woman', followed by that of 'the wife'. Clad from top to toe in designer decadence, Carly floats in an upmarket life as a successful lawyer in New York, while Kate (Mann) is swallowed up by mundane issues in the Connecticut family home, complete with an uncontrollable but lovable black and white dog called Thunder. Selfish people live longer, declares Nicki Minaj as Lydia, Carly's know-all assistant, who is a hoot as she parades in an assortment of wigs and look-at-me wardrobe.

The push-pull relationship between Carly and Kate forms the film's heart as they down tequila shots, play designer dress-ups and share confidences after Carly drops the line that monogamy is not a natural state. I laughed in the scene at Carly's swish apartment when Kate tries to avoid sitting where Carly and Mark had engaged in one of their 50 odd previous sexual encounters. Music is well used as one of the comic elements: La Vie en Rose plays as a syncopated dirge when love goes awry and the theme from Mission Impossible soars when Carly and Kate play detective as they realise there is yet another 'other woman'. Upton has little to do beside flaunt her considerable physical assets in a bikini but she does it with good grace and has a likeable presence and a pretty face.

His earlier films (The Notebook, John Q and My Sister's Keeper, in which he worked with Diaz) dealt with serious themes involving life and death, but here, director Nick Cassavetes shows his flair for madcap comedy with a light touch but always keeping the action grounded in some form of reality. Admittedly the final unravelling is overdone and the grand finale reminded me of the final payback in The First Wives Club (1996). There is a lot to enjoy in this bright, breezy and very funny chick flick that will make you laugh despite yourself and put a skip in your step for the rest of the day.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The marketing - the poster with the three women interlocked in a group hug and the tagline 'The oddest friends are about to get even' - ensures that audiences know what to expect from this chick flick revenge comedy, and it delivers as promised. The characters are drawn in bold strokes, with stereotypical attributes (with the notable exception of Taylor Kinney's Phil, who gradually assumes an important supporting role). But the cast are so darned good they turn dross into watchable escapism, as long as you're not too demanding. There is a perfectly suitable wardrobe for every change of scene and mood, and sometimes we just have to jump with the filmmakers to the next sequence, assuming that all the connecting bits have been drawn in the background.

But that's the nature of escapist movies; they don't have to be realistic. The first half of the film takes us into the lives of this womanising cheat, Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a dashing fellow who seems to easily attract women, or as he rather coarsely puts it when he loses his temper, 'I see more butt than a toilet seat'. In this scene, his uglier side is given full reign, but we have already been well informed about his weaknesses and flaws. (We have not, however, learnt why a decent and smart woman like Kate (Leslie Mann) didn't see the real Mark before, but I guess a lot of women will sympathise with her.)

Cameron Diaz is in full flight as Carly, a curly customer with a steely determination to get the most out of life, while Leslie Mann delivers a perfect contrast in Kate the unhingeable, whose attempt to keep her pain inside never succeeds. They make a great pair of accomplices, joined by the not-so-bimbo Amber (Kate Upton), who is the proverbial final straw that breaks the camel's back - where Mark is the camel.

Then it's Mark's turn to unhinge, which he does rather furiously and noisily in a sequence that doesn't work as intended. The women have already had their petty revenge list fulfilled (his toothbrush dipped in the loo, hair remover replacing his shampoo, that sort of thing) and now they are moving into his corporate betrayals ... all very pat and contrived, but befitting The Other Woman's oeuvre conventions.

The breezy unfolding of the tale is pure Hollywood seamlessness, which tends to acquire a plastic coating, but it's also a confirmation that we are getting what we expect.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

OTHER WOMAN, THE (M)
(US, 2014)

CAST: Cameron Diaz, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kate Upton, Leslie Mann, Taylor Kinney, Nicki Minaj, Don Johnson, Madison McKinley

PRODUCER: Julie Yorn

DIRECTOR: Nick Cassavetes

SCRIPT: Melissa Stack

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Robert Fraisse

EDITOR: Jim Flynn, Alan Heim

MUSIC: Aaron Zigman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Davis

RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 17, 2014







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