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MOVIE REVIEW: 'The Other Woman' a two-fisted 'First Wives Club' for the 'Knocked Up' era

by Roger Moore McClatchy Newspapers - Updated: April 24, 2014 at 9:39 am 0

And thus is a great comic duo born.

"The Other Woman" is a female empowerment comedy and buddy picture, a PG-13 "Bridesmaids," as if that was even possible. But it is, because of Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann.

Diaz, whom future generations will look back on in awe that anybody so skinny/sexy could be so very scary, takes the straight-woman role to Mann, an under-rated comedienne who hasn't worked nearly as much as she should have since she married comic brand name Judd Apatow.

This farce - about a romantically jaded lawyer, Carly (Diaz), who realizes her new love of the past two months is actually married to Kate, a prattling, scattered but sweet housewife (Mann) - gives Diaz a few pratfalls, a lot of pricey clothes and the occasional bikini, and Mann everything else. Especially every funny thing.

Mann, who stole "Knocked Up," plays a great drunk. Pouring her into Carly's chauffeured Town Car is like watching Buster Keaton in high heels.

Worldwise Carly gets why Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) would cheat on Kate. She's a clingy ditz, unable to train her Great Dane, catering to her entrepreneur hubby's every need. Even Kate gets that.

But Kate wins Carly's sympathy, and ours.

The Diaz/Mann pairing is helped by a pair of funny supporting players - pop singer Nicki Minaj, a Picasso-parody of what real women look like, plays Carly's secretary, and Don Johnson is her five-times-married massage addict of a father.

Director Nick Cassavetes plays around with the soundtrack, underscoring Kate's "little Edith Piaf moment" breakdown with a funny-sad cover of "La Vie en Rose," getting a little too on-the-nose by using "Mission: Impossible" music for Kate and Carly stalking Mark as he sneaks off to cheat.

It's too long and gets more obvious the longer it goes. The villain is weak and Minaj's caricature seems straight out of a Tyler Perry picture.

But Melissa Stack's script has snap and crackle to go with the pop, making this female wish-fulfillment fantasy an "Eat, Pray, Revenge" that delivers the punches that two "Sex and the City" movies never could.

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Don Johnson, Nicki Minaj

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Running time: 109 minutes

Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language

Grade: B

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