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‘The Other Woman’: Cameron Diaz in a dreadful three-fling circus

Carly (CamerDiaz center) learns her new man has wife (Leslie Mann left) as well as another mistress (Kate Upton) three

Carly (Cameron Diaz, center) learns her new man has a wife (Leslie Mann, left) as well as another mistress (Kate Upton), and the three team up for revenge in “The Other Woman.” | 20TH CENTURY FOX

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‘THE OTHER WOMAN’ ★

Carly Cameron Diaz

Kate Leslie Mann

Mark Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Amber Kate Upton

20th Century Fox presents a film directed by Nick Cassavetes and written by Melissa Stack. Running time: 109 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for some sexual references). Opens Friday at local theaters.

Updated: May 26, 2014 6:13AM



Brutal.

It’s only mid-April, but I’m making an early reservation for “The Other Woman” to appear on my list of the 10 Worst Films of 2014. This would-be comedy is so tone-deaf, so excruciatingly awful, it’s a minor miracle the studio didn’t confiscate the original print, lock it in a vault and issue a memo saying, “We will never speak of this again.”

Let’s see, where to start. How about the bowel movements? It’s as bad a place as any.

This is the kind of shamelessly pandering movie that believes a gigantic, untrained dog is comedy gold. Pity the canine that plays Thunder the wonder dog, who leaves a giant present on a hardwood floor in one scene and seemingly smacks Cameron Diaz in the face with, um, proof he’s a male dog in another scene. Oh joy.

Working from a nearly laugh-free script from Melissa Stack, director Nick Cassavetes makes matters worse with a number of awkwardly edited scenes (even a two-character conversation in a restaurant feels stiff and amateurish), and some of the most obvious and tired musical choices in recent memory.

The theme from “Mission: Impossible” during a supposedly comedic spy sequence? “New York, New York” as a hotshot character wheels his $300,000 sports car through the streets of Manhattan? “Love Is a Battlefield” because love is, you know, a battlefield? Come on. Are we making this movie for people who have never seen movies?

Here’s your setup. Cameron Diaz plays Carly, a hotshot Manhattan attorney who hooks up with the dashing Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau from “Game of Thrones”), a charming entrepreneur who looks like he just finished a GQ photo shoot even when he’s rolling out of bed in the morning. He’s devastatingly handsome, attentive and sensitive, and a veritable sex machine.

To the shock of Carly’s obligatory wisecracking assistant (Nicki Minaj, murdering every supposedly sassy one-liner she delivers), Carly “clears the bench,” as she puts it, i.e., she dumps all the other guys she’s been seeing because Mark just might be the one.

And then, in a clunky, cartoonishly unrealistic fashion we’ve already come to expect from the film, Carly learns Mark is actually married, and she’s “The Other Woman.”

That’s when this movie goes from harmlessly stupid to WHAT ARE THEY DOING.

Leslie Mann (“Knocked Up,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) plays Mark’s wife, Kate. Mann is a talented actress and she’s been flat-out hilarious in a number of films, but in “The Other Woman” she’s saddled with playing a character who appears to be clinically insane — and nearly every acting choice Mann makes seems to be the biggest, broadest, most desperate choice, which only makes matters worse.

When Kate learns Marks is having an affair, she reacts like a crazed child, heaving herself around Carly’s office, scratching at the windows in hopes of finding a latch so she can jump, crying and whimpering all the way. It’s an astonishingly unfunny scene, to be followed by a number of similar set pieces in which Kate gets drunk in public and/or makes a scene.

Even stupider: Kate behaves like a heavily medicated stalker on a sugar high as she obsesses about becoming Carly’s friend. The two forge a highly unlikely bond and start plotting their revenge on the witless Mark. They follow him around, they spike his drinks and his shampoo with substances that will create humiliating physical side effects — and they even strike up a friendship with yet another Mark mistress, a 21-year-old bombshell named Amber.

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton plays Amber, and Ms. Upton is so out of her depth at even the simplest line reading, she makes Brooklyn Decker seem like Dame Judi Dench by comparison. Not that Cassavetes does her any favors by shooting her running on the beach in a tiny bikini, in slow motion of course.

If “The Other Woman” is supposed to be some sort of feminist revenge fantasy, it fails miserably. Even when poor pathetic crazy Kate knows her husband is a serial cheater and possibly a criminally dishonest con man to boot, she wavers. At one point Kate dons her bridal dress and sits in the master bedroom, watching video of her wedding and having yet another complete meltdown. By the time she says, “I think I’m having a nervous breakdown,” we’re wondering when it started — in 2002? Because this is a very sad, very needy, hopelessly naïve woman who breaks into stare-inducing cackles, throws up into her purse on one of the many occasions on which she gets hammered beyond belief, and develops girl crushes on the women her husband is sleeping with.

Nobody escapes this mess with a shred of dignity. If there were a cinematic equivalent of hand sanitizer, I would have raced for the dispenser the moment the idiotic “Here’s what happened to all the characters!” credits started rolling.



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