After discovering that Mark (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is actually quite the little shit, his wife and two women that he has been cheating on her with team up for a sister act of revenge.
Well, I suppose I shot myself in the foot with this one. But, slightly hankering after some social activity within what had been quite a few shitty weeks – not unlike a dog that needs to be taken out for the day – I traipsed out to my local multiplex to meet my gurl-friends.
No doubt to the surprise of many, I am actually able to begin with some good points. Beneath my curtain of bitterness I would actually consider myself a fairly positive old girl, and on this occasion this was due largely to the fact that one of my friends had turned up Maoam Pinballs and Cadbury Chocolate Buttons. We were off to a good start. However, before the screening I was also subjected to the trailer for Walking on Sunshine, and it was during these glorious two minutes that The Other Woman found itself with a fighting chance. Let’s just say that, as I massaged my temples with equal quantities of frustration and disbelief, it seemed that the only way was up.
Aside from the tasty foodstuffs that sat in the drinks holder beside my elbow, another thumbs up goes to Leslie Mann, who plays Mark’s desperate housewife, Kate. I’m fully aware that many find Mann’s shrill, whiny voice simply annoying, but with her unique brand of humour that blends perfect comic timing, relatability and amusingly exaggerated neuroses, I am happy to put my hands up and say that my only laughs were because of her. Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz is up to her usual, irksome tricks whilst pouting in silky white blouses, and don’t even get me started on Kate Upton – who, as The New York Times perfectly phrased it, has been ‘crassly shoehorned into the movie’ (for the slow-motion sequence of her running along the beach in a bikini, no less).
Yes, there are indeed moments of some comic value, but that’s where the praise ends. Perhaps the biggest downfall of the film is that, despite intending to portray and promote female empowerment, what we’re actually given are three very simplistic stock female characters: the thick-as-pigshit eye candy, the career bitch and the naïve housewife who is a bit of an emotional mess. And as if these types aren’t obvious enough, they’re signaled with trashy white bikinis, black leather pencil skirts and floral 50s-style dresses, respectively.
Many of the film’s other messages are also more than just a little off. We are told that we can’t be too bushy downstairs because men don’t like it. We are told that if you find your husband has been cheating on you, you should put hormones into his morning smoothie so that his nipples go all weird. We are told that if your fella has been unfaithful, it’s really healthy to seek vengeance. What’s the next move for operation emasculation, lady? Are you just going to go ahead and castrate the damn guy? I’ve never been in this situation so I might be wrong, but I really don’t think these are the things should or do take precedence when you find out someone has been doing the dirty.
In failing so badly at empowering women, the film also manages to alienate men – most noticeable by how female-heavy the audience was. As the credits rolled I saw all of five men sheepishly dragging their feet down the gangway, sporting an expression of both utter bemusement and actual trauma; they were all completely silent. The unequal ratio of men to women also meant that every time a male character walked into a glass door or shit their pants (laxative gag alert), a wave of jarringly high-pitched giggles leapt through the darkness and I was left wondering, ‘This is what does it for us? Really?’
The whole thing was then rounded off with a fucking montage, which to add insult to injury was accompanied by a Keyshia Cole and Iggy Azalea rendition of the chick-flick classic, I’m Coming Out. Other hits from the soundtrack include the theme from Mission Impossible, used really ingeniously as the girls turn on stealth mode to investigate Mark’s escapades, Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York (because we’re in New York, obviously) and Bubble Butt by I don’t even care who.
And lastly: Nicki Minaj is in it.
All in all, The Other Woman is at times funnier than the average chick-flick, and shamefully I did leave the cinema in a much less rubbish mood, but fundamentally all it manages to be is a combination of cheap laughs, patronising revenge tactics, and a pretty pathetic portrayal of women.