Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Road Trip: The Other Woman (2014)


The Other Woman (2014)
Directed by
Nick Cassavetes
Written by
Melissa Stack
Torture Courtesy of 20th Century Fox





I’ve been going to the movies more often over the past few months then I had since my son moved back east.  It’s a way to get out of the house and away from a dog’s life.  No, I won’t explain it.

I probably should have been writing about those road trips before now.  But let’s be realistic. 

By the time a new film opens there are already a gazillion reviews of it all over the internet from the IMDB to Rotten Tomatoes and far beyond.  Everybody’s a critic.  So anything I would have to add to the mix would be inconsequential especially since sometimes the movies may have been in release for two or three weeks before I get around to making the trip.  I’m not one to do opening weekends although I will make an exception now and then.

So until my blog views jump up to about five thousand or more a day instead of eking out less than a hundred a week, I don’t see the masses flocking back here to read what I have to say.  Besides, I’ll probably have to pack Clyde’s Stuff back into mothballs again sooner or later because that’s the way life works.

But hey, I can’t hang around this planet forever.  Some day I’ll be gone and my family can come here and shed a few tears over my blog and  lament why didn’t they ever visit when I was alive because I was at heart a really good person and a great writer.  Okay, so all that is mostly bullshit.  I’m not a really good person.  Just somewhat of a decent person.  Maybe more than decent depending on if we’re grading on the curve.  

But I am a great writer in my opinion and around here that’s the only one that truly counts.

To many of those related to me because we share some degree of the same genetic code, this blog has been deemed an exercise in futility and only proves that I have way too much time on my hands and I should just stay on Facebook and admire their posts related to God, Mom, and Apple Pie.  Maybe they’re right and I’m wrong.  But if so, I really don’t care.  And now that I have gotten that off my chest for the umpteenth time, let’s proceed.

A couple of the local theaters in Bakersfield now have Classic Film Festivals although I fail to see how one classic film a week constitutes a festival.  My intention back on May 3rd was to attend a showing of Coal Miner’s Daughter with Sissy Spacek doing a spot on impersonation of Loretta Lynn at the Maya Cinema.  But my girlfriend, Abigail Lou (no, not her real name but it should have been) was invited to see a movie with a friend.  In our house, friend trumps boyfriend.

Abigail is not much of one for the Classic Film Festival circuit.  She has gone with me on occasion, most recently sitting through a showing of Easter Parade with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland on Easter Saturday.  But when I went to see the original True Grit (1969), she opted to go into a different auditorium and see the newest attempt at a trilogy, Divergent. 

For Singing in the Rain a couple of weeks before that, I simply went alone.  Okay, so we were fighting that day.  Now you know.  Let’s move on.

Since the closest we are to any theater is 30 miles, it’s not a good idea for us to take two separate vehicles to go at separate times.  There’s a couple of reasons for this. 

One:  My car is a hunk of junk.  A 1991 Buick on its last legs that I use for work and nothing more. 

Two:  The cost of gasoline makes taking two vehicles almost as expensive as buying a large popcorn and a drink at the theater. 

The only showing of Coal Miner’s Daughter was at 10 A.M.  The film that Abigail Lou and friend opted for, The Other Woman, didn’t have a showing until 11:30.  That is what made things problematic.  I would have been perfectly fine to wait for them afterwards, but they didn’t want to go that early.  So my choices were either Spiderman 2 The Amazing Spiderman 2 or joining them for The Other Woman.  As I said, I don’t do opening weekends well especially when it comes to Sony money grubbing reboots, so it was bye bye Loretta and hello Kate Upton.

So maybe Kate Upton isn’t the lead in The Other Woman.  I’ll take it anyway I can get it and if I go to see something on the big screen, I want those some things to be really really really big.  Besides, if I really truly was interested in watching Cameron Diaz, I’d watch one of my blu-rays like The Holiday or put in Shrek so I only have to hear her voice.  Okay, so that’s a bit sexist.  But if you had seen The Other Woman, you’d feel the same way because there really wasn’t much else in the film worth while.

Carly (Cameron Diaz) is all business.  She has no time for long term relationships in her life, especially since most men turn out to be nothing but insensitive, lying, finagling, cheating jerks with hard-ons.  Well, the movie is geared towards women so what kind of description did you expect?

Along comes Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) who dines her, woos her, and then screws her, but it’s a two way street.  Carly begins to let her guard down, thinking that Mark may be the one.  But what Carly doesn’t know and what we know is that Mark is married to Kate (Leslie Mann).  We also begin to suspect right away that besides just being a philandering husband, he’s using his marriage for other nefarious deeds.  We know this because they insert a scene of having Mark finagling Kate to sign “business papers” and that she’s kind of a ditz so it’s obvious that wifey is clueless to what her name on the dotted line means.  And oh yeah, they didn’t put the scene in there just to pass the time.


It doesn’t take long for Mark’s subterfuge to unravel and for Carly to find out that she should not have let her original low opinion of the male species to be cast aside just because one good looking guy from Game of Thrones who is great at sex happens along.  When Mark is summoned home by a whining Kate, and is forced to cancel a dinner date with Carly and her father Frank (Don Johnson), by telling her he has plumbing problems at home, she gives him the big kiss off.  But Frank convinces her to try again and she decides to go out to the suburbs in full naughty plumber regalia, plunger in hand.  Countdown until Carly knocks on the door and Kate answers the door and introduces herself as Mark’s wife begins immediately.  It’s not like we didn’t know it would happen sooner rather than later.  But in leaving, Kate stumbles down the sidewalk, and it is about this time that for me at least, the movie began falling apart.



Later, Kate, who despite being overbearing, neurotic, and terribly clueless, manages to find her way to Carly’s office shortly after Carly has thrown one helluva temper tantrum. 

How did Kate know where to go?  Because Mark had Carly’s personal information on his cell phone or maybe in his pocket.  I can’t remember which.  That brings me to my two rules for philandering husbands.

1.  Do not tell your mistress where you actually live.  Don’t give her the town or the real address because you’re just looking for trouble, especially when you have the cash to keep a separate apartment as Mark does.

And why would somebody like Mark who is suppose to be so smart do such an idiotic thing anyway?  Raise your hands if you know the answer.  Boy, that’s a lot of raised hands.  The rest of you dunces go sit in the corner.

It’s because it’s the easiest but sloppiest way for a screenwriter  to get from point A to point B when it is an absolute necessity to have mistress meet wife.  Granted, I’m sure Carly could have gotten the address in some other manner but there is no indication that she did.

2.  Don’t put your girlfriend’s personal information on your cell phone or on a slip of paper or anywhere that your wife has access to.  Because she will find it.  So either Mark is not as smart as he is supposed to be, has too much faith in Kate’s lack of coherent brain function, or is too sure of himself.  Probably a combination of the three.

Kate has this odd idea that Carly and she should bond  because apparently she thinks that’s what aggrieved wives and mistresses do.  So she begins to stalk Carly continuously until Carly, who instead of having Kate committed, does the bonding thing so we can have the rest of the movie.

Later, Kate finds out Mark is still doing the hot beef injection with someone and at first believes it to be Carly and immediately confronts her about it.  Of course she doesn’t do that.  That would be too easy.  That would be the intelligent logical thing to do and we already know Kate is too much off her nut to do anything normal.  Instead she does what she usually does which is the simple-minded way and gets to whine some more, feel sorry for herself, sabotage who was supposed to be her new bff/husband’s ex mistress before she finds out that good old Mark isn’t plugging Carly but is actually messing around with a third person. 

The pair go into James Bond mode where Carly meets good guy and future love interest Kate’s brother Phil (Taylor Kinney) when they follow Mark to the beach where they find out that the girl behind door number 3 is blonde bombshell Amber (Kate Upton).  And for me at least, things finally begin looking up.

It doesn’t take long for the terrible trio of Carly, Kate, and Amber to hook up together and decide to seek their revenge on Mark pulling some pranks on him and along the way discovering what we already figured out two minutes into the movie.  That Mark is crooked and embezzling money from his clients.  And with Kate’s signature on all the bank papers, if this is discovered, she goes to jail instead of Mark. 

It is only then that the movie began to hold any interest for me at all.  And it didn’t hold much.  Maybe because I knew the pain would soon be over. 

This whole mess is full of terribly written characters and plot holes you could fly a 747 piggybacking on the space shuttle through.

We should be sympathetic towards Kate’s plight but her total lack of awareness and the fact that much of the story line depends on her having taken a class in Stupid Characters in Hollywood Scripts 101 keeps us from it.  I could have gone along with it to some degree, but it takes about ninety percent of the movie for her to finally wise up. 

Despite everything, she continually has this hankering to be with Mark, and at one point even when every single dastardly deed he has pulled is out there in the open,  she sleeps with the bastard again.  Nobody, not even Kate could be that dumb.  Well, maybe most Republican women who seem to relish male superiority, but let’s not go there.


And no, I didn’t warn of a spoiler because you deserve to know how much of your time you’ll really really really be wasting on this.  I don’t want to blame Leslie Mann, but what else can one do?  I liked her in Knocked Up.  Liked her somewhat in This is 40, but not much.  Here, I just wish she either was in another movie or her damn canine would have her for lunch.
 

At least I can tolerate Cameron Diaz.  But even she should have seen the glaring problems with this script before going in front of the cameras.  Why make one of the main characters so unlikable?  And really, would an intelligent, smart, well
heeled attorney be playing undercover cop in such a way that it leads to some really awful slapstick  on the beach while taking on the same characteristics and neuroticism of the eccentric Kate?  And why?  Because she too is suddenly jealous of a guy who screwed her then screwed her over?  Well, that and just like the terribly written device for Carly to meet Kate, this is just more lazy writing to have Carly and Kate meet Amber.

As for Kate Upton, I’m sure you’re wondering whether she passed the test meaning can she act or was she just eye candy to get men into the theater along with their girlfriends and wives?  On the one hand she is here because the story calls for it.  But let’s face it, the former Sports Illustrated model wasn’t hired for her acting resume.  I’m not going to dish on that aspect of her presence because honestly, we never find out.  She is given absolute minimal dialogue and almost nothing to do.  Whether that was by design or necessity, I don’t know.  Maybe she couldn’t learn more than one page of dialog.  I’m not sure they did her any favors one
way or the other.  She does have a few cute flirtatious scenes with Don Johnson that worked for me and I would loved to have seen more of that.  So we’ll just say the jury is still out.

Almost forgotten is Nicki Minaj who does a hilarious bit as Carly’s secretary, Lydia.  She’s funnier, smarter and wiser than anybody else in this movie except maybe Phil.  Unfortunately, enjoy her while you can in the very few minutes of screen time given to her.  Maybe a movie about Lydia would have saved the whole mess.  Maybe a movie about Lydia being Amber’s secretary while she was wooed by the older and wiser Frank would have been terrific.  If only.

Right after having seen The Other Woman, I was asked my opinion.  At that time I was feeling generous and gave it a C-.  But the passing of time and common sense has taken over.  This is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination and it makes the cardinal sin of stupefying its characters and plot as if that’s the only way to appeal to women. 

Yes, I enjoyed the revenge aspect at the end, and maybe I chuckled once.  But the only thing that will get you is a D+ and only because I’m still feeling a bit generous.  Then again, maybe I lowered the grade because I found out that Coal Miner’s Daughter would be the last Classic film until at least the fall at the Maya and I missed it for this colossal turd.

And speaking of turds, a note to writers, producers, directors, actors and everybody else.  A dog shitting on the floor is not funny.  It just isn’t.  It’s stupid and pointless. Not to mention the fact that every time  I think about the huge dog crapping on the floor, the more I feel like lowering the grade again.  That’s it.  That’s the real reason.  Did I say D plus?  Make that a D and get out of here while you can.





 







 


2 comments:

  1. Glad Emma didn't drag me to this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, wait for the DVD or Netflix. I was actually hoping it would be better but it was pretty awful.

    ReplyDelete