Apr 30, 2014

Film Review: The Other Woman...But Also a Ton of Other Movies

Three Women on a Mission
Last weekend, I saw the not-really-all-that anticipated movie The Other Woman, starring a slew of women (Cam-ron D, Aimee Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton) who find out that their man (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) isn't solely theirs, which prompts a little scheming and a lot of day-drinking. I went into the movie theater with historically low expectations (26% on Rotten Tomatoes and all), but it is actually a pretty decent flick (if you can get past how grating Cameron Diaz is and how bad at acting Kate Upton is). However, it's not exactly the most original movie in the world. In fact, almost every single moment in the movie feels reminiscent of an earlier, often better movie. To help illustrate that, I broke down the movie into its many parts, examining where exactly it was pulling its influences. That's right, it's time to talk percentages!
The Other Woman is:

25% The Entire Plot of John Tucker Must Die
The movie's clearest companion is the high-school revenge flick John Tucker Must Die. In the movie, three high school students find out they're all dating the same guy and plan a series of hilarious pranks to get back at him. Take out high school, and that's pretty much The Other Woman. Of course, being a teen-driven movie, the pranks in John Tucker are pretty tame, and mostly involve the titular Tucker seeming like a totally rad dude. In John Tucker, you actively root against the women. In The Other Woman, you really only root against Cameron Diaz, but only because she's judgmental and inconsistently damning of slutty behavior.

09% The Vanity Pranks and Dumb Girl of Mean Girls
There are more Mean Girls similarities in The Other Woman than first meet the eye. Sure, both movies involve trying to make a blond person look less attractive and feel less confident (hair-loss pranks and estrogen smoothies are the male equivalent of Kalteen bars). But, even more than pranks, Kate Upton is clearly just a grown-up version of Amanda Seyfried's lovable idiot Karen Smith. And, while we're on percentages, it's important to note that there's a 30% chance it's already raining.

04% The Creepy Children in Children of the Corn
The Other Woman has two things in common with the children who live amongst the corn: the leads (including but not limited to lothario Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) often act soulless, AND there's not a brunette among them. Even Nicki Minaj (as Diaz's assistant) is blonde for most of the movie. Apparently diversity in The Other Woman meant making sure that Leslie Mann's blonde was strawberry. Blond People: 18% of the US population, 100% of this movie's population.

25% Diane Keaton and the Coordinated Outfits of The First Wives Club
Sisters are doing it for themselves.
When I went into see The Other Woman, I had high hopes that it would basically be a newer version of  The First Wives Club, a 90s insta-classic about three friends who team up to get back at the husbands who did them wrong. It's a fantastic movie that's all about bonding together as women towards a common goal. The Other Woman would be a lot like TFWC if it focused more on Leslie Mann, whose life is turned upside down when she finds out her husband is sleeping with a myriad women. Leslie has to learn to be brave, to stand up to her husband after years of neglect have left her unable to speak her mind. That's Diane Keaton in TFWC in a nutshell (they both have a similar, nasally voice as welll). Also, Leslie goes after her husband's business, which is pretty much exactly what Diane does in her movie. If anything, The Other Woman should have worked harder to be like TFWC. That movie had heart, a pro-feminist message, and the ability to really sell the female friendship angle. In The Other Woman, most of that is swept under the rug so that the characters can figure out their own rom-com sub-plots. At least the women in The Other Woman do occasionally wear coordinated outfits – so they got something right.

02% The Closet Porn from 13 Going on 30
Cameron Diaz has an enviable closet filled with a veritable treasure trove of quality clothing. So, just like Jennifer Garner before her, Cameron realizes that her closet is a great place to hang out with her new lady BFF. And while that party is happening, Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield needs to be playing, because that's how you make sure that a closet party is successful, dammit!

06% Don Johnson's Character from When in Rome
In The Other Woman, Don Johnson plays Cameron Diaz's father, an older man constantly going through a divorce with bimbo after bimbo who is nonetheless a fount of wise relationship advice. You may be confused, since that is basically the same character he plays in When in Rome, the underrated rom-com starring one Ms. Kristen Bell.

09% Beautiful Locales and Slow-Motion Beach Boobs of Just Go With It
Bo Derek basically perfected the slow-motion, tropical-locale beach run in 10, but I'm going to go with Brooklyn Decker's slo-mo walk out of the ocean as the clearest connection to Kate Upton's beach activities in The Other Woman, if only because the camera's attention is firmly on the chest and not at all concerned with the beaded hair.

04% "Federal, Pound-Me-in-the-Ass Prison" from Office Space
As an audience member, probably one of the most delightful parts of the movie is hearing Leslie Mann babbling incoherently about what life in prison will be like. She's pretty sure she's going to be someone's plaything in the joint.

02% Cameron Diaz Talking about Pubic Hair from that Book where Cameron Diaz Writes about her Pubic Hair
Cameron Diaz, even as a fictional character, can't stop talking about intimate carpet cleaning. She advises Leslie Mann to keep some hair down there, but keep it groomed. Solid advice, C-Diff (which is a terrible nickname for Cameron Diaz that should in NO WAY catch on. DO NOT spread it like wildfire).

05% Nicolaj Coster-Waldau's Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones
Jaime Lannister (played by Coster-Waldau) is a character that audiences go back and forth between loving and hating.  Sure, he pushed a kid out a window, but he also formed a wonderful relationship with Brienne of Tarth. But then he basically [spoiler alert] raped his sister next to the corpse of their dead son. But he's so freaking charming! He may be difficult to like, but you also kind of want to root for him. Such is the case with Nicolaj Coster-Waldau's dog-of-a-husband in The Other Woman. Even when he's being a complete dick, he's still pretty likable. At least the movie recognizes this, and makes much of the film about the women resisting the temptation to fall back into his arms.

08% Leslie Mann's Character in Knocked Up
For the last 6 years or so, I have found myself occasionally in the position of defending Leslie Mann's characters in film. Mann is a fantastic comic actress, and I find her both incredibly funny AND emotionally moving on film. In The Other Woman, she's once again called on to play a nagging housewife who, despite her husband's indiscretions, can't seem to stop loving him. It's a difficult line to toe, and she is fantastic. Like I said above, this movie would have been 100% better if it was more about Leslie Mann and the struggles in her marriage and less about anything else.

So, that's pretty much the makeup of the film. Like I said, it's almost 100% other movies. It could be called The Other Movie, it's so unoriginal. Of course, mathematicians in my readership may notice that the numbers above only add up to 99%. That's because of the many featured shots of Nicki Minaj's butt. As she is wont to tell you, that baby is all original.

Film Score: B- (but fun!)
Made up of:
25% John Tucker Must Die (C-)
25% The First Wives Club (A+)
09% Just Go With It (D)
09% Mean Girls (A-)
08% Knocked Up (A-)
06% When in Rome (B-)
05% Game of Thrones (A)
04% Children of the Corn (C)
04% Office Space (A)
02% 13 Going on 30 (B+)
02% Cameron Diaz's Body Book (I mean, the sky's the limit)
01% Nicki Minaj's assets (A)

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