With Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Don Johnson. Directed by Nick Cassavetes. Written by Melissa Stack. Rated PG-13 on appeal for mature thematic material, sexual references and language. 109 minutes.
Film critics are supposed to be a cynical bunch, but declaring THE OTHER WOMAN the worst movie of the year is actual a sign of hope. Here is the optimistic wish that we have bottomed out for the year and the films to come–good, bad, or indifferent–will have to be better than this. It would take a special effort to be worse.
Cameron Diaz plays Carly, a top-flight Manhattan attorney who is single. During the opening credits, we see her in the midst of her latest romance with Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who is quite the charmer. We then learn that–unknown to her–Mark is married. Now in the real world, if Carly discovered Mark’s wife Kate (Leslie Mann), she would realize she had been played and immediately break it off, which she does. What she would not do is allow the needy, ditzy, and very annoying Kate to become her new best friend, advising her towards a divorce.
After a half-hour of thuddingly unfunny material (the highlight of which is Kate’s Great Dane taking a dump on camera in Carly’s posh living room), we get a further twist: Mark has been cheating on both of them with the buxom Amber (Kate Upton), who makes Kate look like Madame Curie. So now the wife and both mistresses bond in a revenge plot.
It turns out he’s a crook as well, so the revenge is as complicated as it is improbable. Key moments include spiking his drinks with laxatives (more poop jokes) and his smoothies with estrogen pills so that he starts growing breasts. Are you laughing yet? There’s more, but it’s actually much less. No one on screen acts in a way that is even remotely human, and when Don Johnson pops up as Carly’s father, it’s clear that no one involved in the movie has the slightest idea of what’s going on either.
The performances are uniformly embarrassing. Diaz is an actress with a lot of talent, seemingly lacking only the ability to choose decent roles. This is another one in the loss column. Coster-Waldau, familiar to “Game Of Thrones” fans as Jaime Lannister, looks like he wishes he was back in the much more credible world of dragons and royal duplicity. As for Leslie Mann, it’s hard to believe an actress would take on such a role. Her turn here is so grating it’s a wonder that Melissa McCarthy wasn’t cast instead. And, yes, Kate Upton fills out a bikini nicely, which is about the limit of what she’s called on to do here.
Singer Nicki Minaj shows up as Carly’s secretary in a turn that brings to mind the “sassy” maids in 1930s comedies. At least back then they didn’t know any better. Now to hear her character mouth off at her boss while describing her job as a hobby that pays, you have to wonder if that’s what she thinks of her role in the film.
From bodily waste being expelled from both ends (Mann gets to throw up into her pocketbook) to offensive and out of date stereotypes, “The Other Woman” is a disaster. Please let it get better from hereon in.•••
Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His most recent book is Shh! It’s a Secret: a novel about Aliens, Hollywood and the Bartender’s Guide. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.