In 1980, movie audiences watched Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton take revenge on their lying, cheating, sexist pig of a boss (Dabney Coleman). The movie was “Nine to Five,” and the light comedy marked the first big screen appearance for country singer Parton.
Fast forward to 2014, when first-time screenwriter Melissa Stack and director Nick Cassavetes (“The Notebook”) have taken a similar approach. In their variation of “Nine to Five,” the boss is now a lover or husband, and the wronged women have all unknowingly slept with the same man. The filmmakers also cast two established actresses—Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann—alongside a relative newcomer who’s better known for a different field of entertainment. In this case it’s model Kate Upton, who graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for the past two years.
Though “Nine to Five” played out as an ensemble film, “The Other Woman” is totally taken over by Mann, who swipes every scene with her hilariously sympathetic portrayal of a needy, ditzy, and slightly manic wife who’s surprised one day at her front door by someone who turns out to be “the other woman” (Diaz), dressed as a naughty plumber and asking for her husband by name. That he’s having an affair is nearly as shocking to her as it is for lawyer Kate to discover he’s married.
Carly: He’s married, okay? He has a wife.
Assistant: And you don’t think you could take her?
Other woman Carly would rather write off the last two months as a big mistake, but there’s no escaping Kate, who needs a friend more than ever, now, and has decided that by default Carly is IT. And when a third woman (Upton as Amber) enters the picture, all three of them start their own little sisterhood of the traveling spyglasses and plot to get even with chronic cheater Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).
Carly: If we find any more mistresses, I’m going to have to send her to rehab.
Nicki Minaj does a pretty good Rosie Perez imitation as Carly’s assistant, while Don Johnson (who seems to have found a third career playing hip or boozy fathers of women) is her much-married dad, and Taylor Kinney plays Kate’s brother.
There could be a cast of thousands and it would still be Mann’s movie. She plays her character like a cross between the old Katharine Hepburn screwball comedy heiresses and Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, lurching linguistically or figuratively from scene to scene and squeezing laughs out of just about anything.
“Fifty times? You slept with him 50 times? Don’t you have a job?”
It’s lightweight, formulaic fun that would normally hover in the 6 out of 10 range, but Mann’s antics push it into 7 territory. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, some of which come from the lines, but much of which are the result of ad libs—and Mann’s MAD libs. Diaz gets as many funny lines, but Mann’s energy takes over. This is one “chick flick” that might work as a date movie because of the humor. It’s light, it’s predictable, and its funny—but not in the gross-out manner of “Bridesmaids.”
“The Other Woman” runs 109 minutes and is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references, and language. There’s no nudity, and the raciest scene is really the opener with Diaz and Coster-Waldau.
“The Other Woman” was filmed in 35mm Panavision, perhaps as a nod to some of the older screwball comedies, and that gives the film a richly textured look. Colors are nicely saturated, black levels are perfect, and the AVC/MPEG-4 transfer to a 50GB disc seems flawless. “The Other Woman” is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio.
The audio is more workmanlike, with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 chugging along amiably enough in this dialogue-driven film. Occasionally we get ambient sounds that call the rear speakers to attention, but by and large it’s the clarity and timbre that you’ll appreciate on this transfer. Additional audio options are English Descriptive, French, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, with subtitles in English SDH and Spanish.
Surprisingly (or maybe not) there’s little here in the way of bonus features. Make the movie, make ‘em laugh, and get off the stage. All we get are a handful of deleted/alternate scenes that run under 10 minutes, total, plus a blooper real that’s kind of funny, the original trailer, and a still gallery.
Some people are going to dismiss this as a chick flick, while others who favor gross, in-your-face humor, will shrug and lament that “It’s no ‘Bridesmaids.’” But as a lightweight remake of “Nine to Five” that goes after laughs in the same spirit as the old screwball comedies, “The Other Woman” manages to entertain. And Mann’s performance makes it above average.