Far­ci­cal tale of em­pow­ered women spins out of con­trol

The Other Woman (12A)

Bray People - - ENTERTAINMENT -

RE­VENGE IS a dish best serve ice-cold and in gen­er­ous por­tions in Nick Cas­savetes's ro­man­tic com­edy of spite­ful sis­terly sol­i­dar­ity.

For the first hour, it's a tasty dish laced with tart one-lin­ers by screen­writer Melissa Stack, who deftly sketches the emo­tional bonds be­tween a wife and the two other women, who have un­know­ingly slept with her skirt-chas­ing hus­band.

These early scenes, in which the em­bit­tered spouse surfs a tidal wave of rage while the two mis­tresses wres­tle with their guilt, achieve a pleas­ing blend of painful home truths and rib­ald hu­mour.

Once the feisty femmes agree on a plan of at­tack to make the cheat­ing hus­band pay for his bed-hop­ping sins, any subtlety in the script is sup­planted by crude toi­let hu­mour and cutesy fairy-tale ro­mances for two of the pro­tag­o­nists.

Thus one mis­tress drops lax­a­tives into the hus­band's drinks and we're treated to a pro­tract- ed se­quence in a cramped toi­let cu­bi­cle with the philanderer as he en­dures a blitzkrieg of deaf­en­ing rec­tal ex­plo­sions that seem to go on for­ever. He de­serves his come­up­pance, we just don't need to see or hear it, blow for lit­eral blow.

Carly Whit­ten (Cameron Diaz) is a high-fly­ing at­tor­ney with a sassy per­sonal as­sis­tant (Nicki Mi­naj), who aptly de­scribes her boss as ‘a ruth­less lawrobot.’ How­ever, Carly wants to be adored and she falls for a hand­some charmer called Mark (Niko­laj Coster-Wal­dau), who show­ers her with gifts.

On the spur of the mo­ment, Carly sur­prises Mark in a sexy out­fit and she stum­bles on his se­cret: he's mar­ried with a wife Kate (Les­lie Mann), who gave up her job for her man. Un­ex­pect­edly, the two women be­come friends. Shared sis­terly sym­pa­thy so­lid­i­fies when Carly and Kate dis­cover that Mark has been cheat­ing on both of them with an­other woman, Am­ber (Kate Up­ton). Em­bold­ened by their ex­pe­ri­ences, Carly, Kate and Am­ber re­solve to teach Mark a les­son he will never for­get.

The Other Woman fails to deliver in a messy and un­sat­is­fy­ing fi­nal act that skids wildly out of con­trol and mud­dies the un­der­ly­ing mes­sage of fe­male em­pow­er­ment.

Diaz and Mann spark ap­peal­ing screen chem­istry and Coster-Wal­dau possesses the right amount of charm and slip­per­i­ness to con­vince us that he could de­ceive so many women, and al­most get away with it. Up­ton is sur­plus to re­quire­ments, but does pro­vide a pre­dictable fi­nal punch line for Carly's age­ing, five-times di­vorced fa­ther (Don John­son).

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