Frequently abrasive, sometimes affectionate, mostly sloppy, consistently scatological, nominally feminist, occasionally anti-woman, a little bit smart, a lot of stupid, underwritten, overblown and confused, The Other Woman is a problem with no answer, a movie that wants to be all dumb things to all unconscious people. Chaos masquerading as a thesis, it's a science fiction friendship sitcom about the zany Hamptons spy adventure of three women (and to a lesser extent three men who want to have sex with them) who barf money because that's the only thing inside them.
When rich, suburban housewife Kate (Leslie Mann) melts down over the discovery that her husband (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) has been cheating on her with equally rich lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz), Kate's drunken wailing and screeching make the wild ramblings of the moneyed and betrayed Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine feel sane by contrast. She has reason to wail. Upstaged by the unwitting mistress's full-on togetherness ("My situation is pretty situated at all times, it's true," Carly humble-brags), the best Kate can do is whine about how she can't remember to shave her legs and how she wants to go to something she calls "brain camp," that is when she's not occupied, savant-like, with brainstorming million-dollar web start-ups. Then the unlikely insta-friends discover that Bad Husband is cheating on them both with Kate Upton, the reason bikinis and mid-life crises were invented. Just like that they become a trio, Upton providing the pulchritude smokescreen for the gang's complicated plot of surveillance, revenge and ruin.
Director Nick Cassavetes and screenwriter Melissa Stack have taken a variety of plot points from 2001's Freddie Prinze Jr-meets-supermodel-spies comedy Head Over Heels and added more yelling, more running in tall shoes, more falling down, a soulful Prince Charming/Hamptons contractor (Taylor Kinney) and MVP Nicki Minaj as Diaz's cartoon secretary. It's bright and crisp and clean like any good Downy fabric softener commercial should be; it's tonally weird, erratically hopping from one blandly primary feeling to the next; and it can lay claim to having its act together regarding the lives of the astonishingly privileged while using subservient Asian women, latino limo drivers, bearded drag queens and diarrhea as throwaway laff-getters. It's also very willing to plaster a pop song over everything when the film decides it's run of out relevant dialogue -- any pop song, from Major Lazer's "Bubble Butt" (because there are some bubble butts in one scene and the movie thinks you might not notice them without a song telling you) to Lorde's "Royals" (because popular 12 months ago, now soundtracking all films and supermarket produce sections). So good for... someone.
If none of those complaints matter to you, you're that someone. There are enough medium-funny moments to distract from its lack of human dignity and enough luxuriously pretty homes, furnishings, shoes and cars to distract from its lack of bigger-than-medium-funny moments. Apparently, it's too much to ask for even one major studio film per year about female friendship that's as comedic as Bridesmaids or as willing to feature a character who lives like a recognizable citizen with a phone bill she may or may not be able to pay. Here's what we get until that request seems a little more reasonable.