THE OTHER WOMAN (2014) – NICK CASSAVETES

004 The Other Woman

ALSO KNOWN AS: The Lawyer, The Wife, And The Boobs
GENRE: So-called romantic comedy that has no idea how ‘jokes’ work.
RATING: 

“There’s a new Cameron Diaz movie out”, my father said.

“OK”, I replied.

“I like her. She’s a pretty funny girl!” he continued.

“I could see how someone would think so, yes”, was my way of acknowledging the fact my father had said something.

“We should go watch it together.”

“I can’t think of a reason why we shouldn’t”, I answered, unable to think of an actual reason why we shouldn’t.

And went to see it we did.

For the first time since the incident called “my sister’s high school graduation”, the whole family, all four of us, was going to attend a public event as a group. Never in my entire life did I think that a Cameron Diaz flick would be the thing that managed to get the family together, but there we were, buying four tickets to a matinée showing of a movie called The Other Woman, which we knew nothing about despite having watched the trailer in numerous occasions. The visual information in the ads had failed to enter our brains through our eyes rather than merely be reflected back to the screen from whence it came. That’s how good it looked from the get go. That’s how interested we were in witnessing Diaz’s latest cinematic effort. Deep down, we just yearned to pass some time together, I guess. The quietest the time spent, the better, though. If we wanted real memories we would’ve gone to the park, or some other place that forced us to interact using our words to recount our thoughts and feelings.

Once inside the cinema, the usual cacophony of routine took a hold of us. My father argued with the ticket girl about the ever-increasing prices of a movie ticket, my mom ditheringly tried to choose the “flavor” of pop-corn she wanted to gulp down with, and my sister and I were happy ignoring each other through our smartphone screens in spite of sitting right in front of each other. In other words, we were enjoying some good old family time.

Finally, it came down to enter the theater, and let the soles of our shoes recollect all sort of sticky substances littered on the floor, substances that, sometimes, attained sentiency on their own accord. The fact that the room showing The Other Woman hosted only six other human beings besides our group should’ve been a dead-ringer of the movie’s quality. But we had shelled our hard-earned money to be entertained by mindless Hollywood shtick and entertained we would be! So we sat and hoped for the best.

The feeling of positivity didn’t last long.

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Hmm… Maybe the theater is empty because the movie is too good for regular people?

As the minutes came and went, as the scenes occurred, slapping our faces with their dreadful pace, appearing and disappearing as if this was an experimental movie content with not following a traditional plotline from beginning to end, I found myself unable to feel a single emotion. The film was failing to elicit even the most basic of reactions out of me. No joy, no anger, no laughter, no boredom, no nothing. I merely existed on this plane of reality. Slowly, I was losing the “living” part of the “living thing” aspect of my life. My breathing was the only indicative hint that assured me dead hadn’t come for me yet. But the events happening right in front of my eyes might as well not be transpiring at all since neither my soul nor my senses could register them.

They were that bland and meaningless.

Both the trailer and the information booth near the entrance of the cinema billed The Other Woman as a comedy. But no one was laughing. You could hear the rhythmic air influx from the audience member’s noses beneath the dialogue spoken onscreen, and it never changed to reveal even the slightest hint of a possible chuckle. Not even a wretched snort of appreciation!

You know how some people say that the jokes on sitcoms are so bad they have to add a laugh track to tell us we just experienced a joke? That without the laugh track we wouldn’t find any of that stuff funny in the slightest? The Other Woman proves this theory. I’m not even sure any part of it was even meant to be a joke. If the people behind cameras giggled during filming it had to be due to an abusive influx of alcohol or drugs prior to showing up to work. There’s no other possible explanation.

The premise lends itself to some amusing situations; why no one took advantage of them is anyone’s guess (but my money is on “utter laziness”). According to the very anonymous intern the movie theater “hired” to write down the synopsis of the films they’re playing, it goes like this:

“After discovering her boyfriend is married, whatever-the-name-of-the-character-Cameron-Diaz-is-playing tries to get her ruined life back on track. But when she accidentally meets the wife he’s been cheating on, she realizes they have much in common, and her sworn enemy becomes her greatest friend. When yet another affair is discovered, all three women team up to plot mutual revenge on their cheating, lying, three-timing S.O.B.”

Just picture all the possibilities! They’re, decidedly, not much, but they are latent possibilities, nonetheless. Someone could grab one and expand on it.

The people behind this movie took none.

Instead of everything being played out for laughs, or finding the utter ridiculousness of said idea, everything is framed as a drama sprinkled with silly joke-ish sentences inside sketch-like scenes with no real connection to anything. And, instead of pretending I have no idea why this particular thing happened and going on a long and boring diatribe against the director and producers of this thing, let me spell the issue out right: it’s because of feminism. I’m sorry; I meant “feminism”, with bunny-eared quote marks around them indicating the complete lack of a feminist perspective present on this movie. Or any sort of understanding of a definition of the term for that matter.

The idea here was to offer women the centuries-old joke that recites that men, as a species, are intellectually surpassed by slug mucus in movie form. Innovation at play, I know. They wanted to strengthen the idea that men’s dumbness is as extreme as their vile. As such, women can use this movie to rejoice with their inner feelings by knowing they are the superior version of mankind as reflected on the lives of the three one-dimensional characters on screen. Members of the female gender of humanity are, therefore, reassured through this production that they’re a cut above everything else, because, unlike members of the male gender, they do not spend their whole lives thinking about sex and trying to copulate with as many moving targets as possible. “That is why God created women second, because he knew he made a mistake on his first try”, and so on and so forth. To prove this, The Other Woman shows us female people are capable of getting together with like-minded women-folk to band together and beat the wickedness known as “men”.

Having a penis makes you a moron, is what they’re saying.

lgst3241boys-are-stupid-throw-rocks-at-them-boys-are-stupid-poster

Is this subtle enough?

This would be a perfectly fine, albeit extremist, message to convey to non-testosterone people, if not for the fact that the film itself undermines everything the God-awful script failed to try to do. In other words, the act of being a woman and daring to waste money and time on this passive-aggressive “sexism is the way forward” trite cancels out any pretense the film had to be about putting women up front.

Women, in this strange universe where logic exists not, can have high-paying jobs, and are allowed to engage in whatever activity they so desire, given that their whole lives, conversations, and thoughts revolve around members of the opposite sex. Regardless of the fact that men have been established to be irksome and gross, the attaining or releasing of one specimen of this gender must be the sole force that drive a lady’s life.

Every single line of dialogue uttered by these caricatures of mankind is about guys. Their whole self, their purpose in life, as well as their social positioning hinges on the ownership or lack thereof of a guy. Cameron Diaz is not “the brilliant lawyer that hasn’t lost a single case and that is the head of a successful law firm”. She is merely “the mistress of a guy”. Period. That’s how shallow the movie is.

And, if the notion that maybe, MAYBE, all this feminism backtracking is meant to be a satire of our society, that MAYBE it is played out as a deadpan commentary about how unequal gender “equality” is around us, in comes the entity known by Google image searches as Kate Upton. Her whole purpose in the movie is boobs. She does nothing at all to advance the story, she provides no insight into these characters’ state or mind, nor does her presence affect the plot in any way whatsoever. She’s just here so we can see her boobs. She is also a terrible actress. To put it simply, her breasts are far better thespians than she is. Ever seen one of those dreadful kindergarten pageants where little Suzy recites her lines about the importance of religious holidays as if an invisible alien being was transmitting the words she utters letter by letter via a telepathic gun? Yeah, worse.

Of course she gets a scene where she runs through the beach wearing an almost inexistent bikini in slow motion.

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Such feminism. Wow.

Did I mention this thing was directed by a guy? Maybe I should’ve started with that and saved us all a couple blocks of text and time. A man, who, by the way, has no sense of comedic timing. This he showcases by showing sheer incompetence in highlighting what passes as jokes in the movie. During the many (many, many, many) dialogue-heavy scenes where nothing of value is said, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the silhouette of a veiled attempt at a joke hidden amongst the endless outburst of words, but when it’s finally its turn to be in the spotlight and surprise us, it just goes by until it hits the wall of blandness and becomes one with the nothing. The thought “was that supposed to be a joke?” will become a mantra for many audience members.

where-did-you-get-your-joke-from-the-toilet-store

Dude! That’s the same store I buy mine from!

 

This is especially sad since the two main actresses – Cameron Diaz and whoever Leslie Mann is – do ooze chemistry between each other. I have no clue if they are real life friends, and I don’t really care, but it looks like they’re having a blast reciting the dumb lines fed to them by someone who should know by now that a screenplay’s first draft is not the definitive version.

Even if you’re holding out your breath for the ending, in the hopes that the vengeance casted upon the depraved representation of men’s debauchery will be equally outrageous and funny, you risk yourself of being disappointed. While, yes, it is true that witnessing a man give in to fear and forget intelligence is a thing a handful of unused brains would find titillating enough to release a small dose of dopamine throughout their host bodies, his comeuppance is just not worth the previous 99 minutes of expectancy. Especially since we decided “add laxative to his coffee” is a far better solution to “he’s cheating on me” than “divorcing the hell out of him while taking half of everything he owns”.

Although, I will admit, watching a man bumbling his way through a crystal wall is amusing to a certain degree. Not to a very noteworthy degree, mind you, but amusing still.

“Are you sure this is the same guy that did The Notebook?” will also be a phrase repeated a lot throughout the duration of the movie.

How bad is The Other Woman? It’s the kind of film that would dare use Cindy Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun splattered over a revenge montage showcasing “women having fun”. It’s the kind of film where the “best” “jokes” are poop-related. It’s the kind of film where a whole section of the story transpires in a foreign country just because the director wanted to enjoy a couple weeks of all-inclusive vacations for him and his family fully paid upfront by the production company.

It’s, in short, the kind of film that is incapable of eliciting an emotion from rational human beings. I felt nothing through and through. I just let time walk past me.

But people, for whatever reason, still enjoy The Other Woman. How do I know this? Because once the movie came to an end my father said “Wasn’t that fun? I had a lot of fun.”

And he meant it.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE MOVIE:

That one moment when Nicki Minaj’s whole body is shown on profile and my mother couldn’t help but ask dumbfounded “Are those things real?!” when she noticed the size of her butt.

It says much when the best part of your movie is the rather-above average acting of a rap artist who plays a stereotypical valley girl (outdated accent included) whose only purpose in the movie is… you know; I don’t really think there WAS a purpose to her character.

 

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