After serial dater Carly (Cameron Diaz) discovers her new boyfriend Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) has a wife, Carly tries to get her ruined life back on track. However, Carly soon finds a new obstacle in Kate (Leslie Mann), Mark’s wife, who latches on to Carly as the only other person who knows of her husband’s infidelity. When a second affair, Amber (Kate Upton), is discovered, the three women become fast friends and join forces to plot revenge against Mark.
The Other Woman is the latest chick-flick that attempts to fall under the guise of “female empowerment”. It is uncertain whether the final product remains true to screenwriter Melissa Stack’s intention, or if the result is due to a miscommunication between herself and director Nick Cassavetes, but The Other Woman fails on so many levels. The Other Woman is yet another lowbrow comedy that attempts to cash in on the clichéd female sorority-esque bosom-buddy relationships a la Sex and the City, in order to make a quick box-office buck.
The characters of Carly, Kate, and Amber are two-dimensional expressions of outdated stereotypes that offer nothing in the way of representing women with any accuracy, meaning, or respect. These three stereotypes (the independent careers woman, the cuckolded needy housewife, and the promiscuous bimbo) are so conventionalised, you could place them in any chick-flick and no one would notice any difference. The characters in The Other Woman trivialise women and reinforce stereotypes that should have been abolished from film years prior. As such, The Other Woman wastes an opportunity to offer new female characters that aren’t fickle or assume a false sense of independence and that challenge Hollywood convention.
As a result, the performances by Diaz, Mann, and Upton are completely forgettable, stalling any attempts by the actors to demonstrate their acting range or abilities. To be fair, Diaz and Mann had a certain degree of on-screen chemistry, providing few and fleeting moments of genuine entertainment and comedy. For the most part though, the humour in The Other Woman felt very forced. I will admit my own disappointment in the superficial representation of women certainly shaped my opinion of the film very early on, and so my engagement with the comedic aspect of this film may not be representative of truth.
Ultimately, The Other Woman is yet another forgettable film that offers little in the way of plot, laughs, and relatable female characters. This film is a disappointment, not because I had high expectations or believed I’d be treated to a charming cinematic experience, but because The Other Woman represents mainstream cinema’s endemic use of female stereotypes that reinforce an outdated view of a woman’s worth in society. Hollywood needs to embrace strong female characters that transcend beyond the clichéd to challenge societal expectations, not actively support them.
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