Last summer, we raved about the buddy-cop comedy “The Heat,” which was the only studio movie release over those prime summer months that was headlined by a woman (it starred Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy). This year, it looks like that number has increased to a grand total of two—Disney’s “Maleficent” (starring Angelina Jolie) and “The Other Woman,” a comedy headlined by Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann. Maybe next summer we’ll get lucky and get three!
“The Other Woman” is, in essentials, the story of three women (Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton) who find out they’re all being played by the same man (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). Based on that premise and the trailer, I mistakenly assumed the movie would be a standard revenge comedy, but that aspect only makes up a small part of the film’s runtime. To my surprise, I found “The Other Woman” to be a compelling and realistic look at female friendship and the power we all have to improve our lives by viewing other women (and even the dreaded other woman) as allies instead of enemies. Directed by Nick Cassavetes, who also directed “The Notebook,” “The Other Woman” is the female equivalent of the bromantic comedies we’ve seen recently—a look at the empowerment that can be found in platonic love between women.
I haven’t read a single review of “The Other Woman” that didn’t compare it to “Bridesmaids.” This is obviously because the pool of recent female-led comedies is unbelievably small, but I don’t think it’s an apt comparison. While “The Other Woman” has one “Bridesmaids”-esque sequence of scatalogical humor (after which you’ll never look at the Kingslayer the same way again), it’s a PG-13 movie compared to the R-rated “Bridesmaids.” And whereas “Bridesmaids” focused on a thirty-something heroine free-falling through life with more inclination to mope about her problems than fix them, “The Other Woman” features two strong female characters in Mann’s Kate and Diaz’s Karlie, forty-something women who have worked hard to get where they are in life and then don’t give up when it becomes apparent they’ll need to work even harder to get through tough times.
While it’s far from a perfect movie (some of the comic sequences strain credulity), “The Other Woman” should be celebrated for having two strong, well-developed 40-something female characters (Upton’s Amber is less well-developed although still a fun supporting addition) in one movie.
“The Other Woman” is currently in wide release in Austin. Check out the trailer below.