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'Other Woman' plays out more like 'Cheat, Joke, Love Revenge'

| Thursday, April 24, 2014, 8:55 p.m.
20th Century Fox
(From left) Leslie Mann, Nicki Minaj, Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton in 'The Other Woman'

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. This farce, about a romantically jaded lawyer, Carly (Diaz), who realizes her new love of the past two months is actually married to 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's “Kate” all but collapses, on learning the truth in Carly's office.

“Does this open?” she mumbles, groping and poking, dazed, at a wall-sized window she'd like to jump through.

She cries to Carly, drinks with Carly, badgers Carly with calls. And she drops in, uninvited, on Carly's swank city apartment.

Mann, who stole “Knocked Up,” plays a great drunk. 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.

And then the ladies meet a third “other woman,” Amber (voluptuous model Kate Upton). Parking her next to Diaz and Mann probably scared the wits out of the older women, but Upton looks like a cheerful, chipmunk-cheeked collection of shapely, dull-eyed baby fat next to them.

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. 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.

Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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