The Other Woman #Movie #Review: Good Enough to Remind Me of The bygone age of Better Romantic Comedies

Hello. This is a Korean in America. Today I’m here to review the “The Lawyer, The Wife and The Boobs”…. Oh I mean the movie, The Other Woman.

Before the turn of the century, Romantic Comedies from Hollywood were the mainstay of mid-range movies. With around a 10 million dollar budget, you could get a box office of something around 50 million with a decent return from the home market and cable.  However, around the mid-2000s, the mid-range movies started to go the way of the dodo bird. And, with it, so did the romantic comedy genre. What were the last 5 good and successful romantic comedies of the last half decade? I cannot recall any.

The closet movie I can recall is “The Proposal” staring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. But that was way back in 2009. 

There are a lot of reasons for the death of the mid-range movie. However, the fact is that the business model of Hollywood has shifted to high risk high return tent pole movies. Currently, the only movies that seem to work for them are Superhero movies.  Romantic Comedies are not profitable enough for the studios to spend their efforts on.

The cost of production has increased over the years but the audience has not grown at the same pace. To be frank, with the growth of streaming services and cable TV, the audience for romantic comedies has actually shrunk. I know a lot of people around me that differentiate between movies that should be watched in theatres and those that should be either rented or streamed. In most cases, streaming is preferable since it is cheaper. Anything without big explosions or not science fiction does not fall into the “watch in theatre” category.

You know who you are?

As a movie lover, I do not really get that attitude. Any movie that is worth spending one’s time on is a movie that is worth seeing in theatres. That is my attitude. In any case, that is the reason why mid-range movies like Romantic Comedies are not really being made much in Hollywood nowadays. So, movies such as “The Other Woman” are a surprise. The issue is that they don’t really fit into the 2010s’ style movie making.

The Plot
The Other Woman” is basically a mix of “The sisterhood of travelling pants” and the “The First Wives Club”. You have Cameron Diaz playing a single lawyer who is dating a man who, unbeknownst to her, is married to Leslie Mann. The two meet and bond braiding each others’ hair, drinking cosmos, and passing out from drinking. 

You know girly stuff!

They form a sisterhood triad by finding another mistress played by swimsuit model, Kate Upton. It is the “The Lawyer, The Wife and The Boobs”. In a way, it does feel like a real sisterhood. Leslie Mann is the older sister who is too settled in and naïve to life. At the time she is a little manic. Cameron Diaz is the second sister who prefers having a career and meeting men. Kate Upton is the youngest who just wants to have fun.

The good, The bad & The ugly of the sisterhood
This sisterhood aspect of the movie is the best part of the movie. Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann have great chemistry together.  Cameron Diaz, who is 41 years old, has still got the charm that made her career. And this charm bounces off well with the clueless and erratic cuteness of  Leslie Mann who is 42 years old. In regard to Kate Upton, I cannot call her an actress but she is a model that can actually deliver what few lines the movie gives her. So, OK. Thus, the triad is complete.

The problem with this movie is the chemistry between the sisterhood and the movie’s actual plot. Among the so called movie critics, there is a tendency to look down on romantic comedies. They see those movies as not being sophisticated enough. To be frank, romantic comedies are not sophisticated movie. And they do not have to be. I view romantic comedies and musicals to basically be enlarged montages. You need to create a tightly composed collection of emotional scenes which infer a story rather than going into the nitty-gritty elements of the story.

The issue with “The Other Woman” is that the actual plot is a throwaway plot intended to support the comedy and female bonding.  However, it actually spends too much time on the plot. This type of movie needs to be “laugh, laugh, cry, laugh, and ending”. In other words, the pacing of the movie needs to be very efficient. However, with “The Other Woman”,  its running time of 109 minutes feels too long. If this was done better, the movie would have been much better.

Imagine a poorly edited montage scene.
Does it not drag a lot?

This is what “The Other Woman” feels like. However, a longer running time is the trend in Hollywood over the last decade. The basic romantic comedy format with a weak support structure simply does not work well with a longer run time.

It would have helped if the comedy was much better than what was on screen. While there were some funny scenes, a lot of the comedy in the movie felt too slapstick and raunchy for the rest of the movie. There is a clash between the more heartfelt parts and the comedy which felt were inserted later by another writer. And, thinking about how Hollywood works, I would not be surprised if the script went through many writers.

At the end
Compared to what the critics say, “The Other Woman” is an OK movie to go out and watch. For a romantic comedy, it is somewhat of a B movie. However, since it is actually a rare find in recent Hollywood, I would recommend it to fans of the genre.

Score: B for the romantic comedy genre

           B- for a general movie


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