Kate Upton's character in The Other Woman, Amber, is at one point referred to as "the boobs" by Cameron Diaz's Carly: "When you put the lawyer, the wife, and the boobs together, you have the perfect killing machine." The movie, in which a man's wife and two mistresses team up for imprecise revenge, treats Kate Upton the actress that way, too.
The breasts-owner-turned-Sports Illustrated model-turned-actress is given the barest of roles, one that requires her to say a maximum of three simple sentences at a time. Usually, it's even fewer. This is another example of the Rihanna/Battleship treatment, and so below is a partial list of Kate Upton's lines:
- "What's going on?"
- "Wait, Kate. What's going on?"
- "Both of you stop."
- "What are you doing?"
- "Kate, wait."
- "Yeah, me too."
- "You guys, I think I see a dolphin."
- "I just can't believe he would lie to me. You must hate me so much right now."
- "How can you be so amazing you could be friends with your husband's mistress?"
- "I think it's just sweat."
- "We should kick him in the balls."
- "Kick him in the balls twice."
- "This place is awesome. My neck was so tight. What's it called?"
- "He must be taking Viagra by the handfuls."
- "I'll do it, I don't have a lot of feelings."
- "She's not a hooker, she's a slut."
- "One time or two out of three?"
- "I'm so glad you're here. So much has happened. Major breakthroughs."
- "You could even go to jail."
- "Oh my god, he's taking this shit international."
- "Well, if we don't leave till tomorrow, I say it's our turn to take this shit international."
- "You told me we were getting a divorce and that we were moving to Tuscany."
- "You turned out to be not a very nice person."
- "Even though it brought us together, let's never sleep with the same guy again."
Upton does even less with what little she is given. She's a perpetual blank slate who sounds like she can never be sure of even the slightest of declarations. Her acting is as flat as her body is pneumatic. (Her idea of physical comedy, or maybe director Nick Cassavetes' idea of physical comedy for her dolt character, is holding the wrong side of binoculars up to her face.) The film's other bit of stunt casting is not much better—Nicki Minaj plays Carly's secretary, and though she's given saucier lines ("Selfish people live longer") they are all delivered with the concentration of someone who's trying to read after misplacing her bifocals. They sound like lines. They're as artificial as her hair, which changes color in each of the four scenes in which she appears.
Alternately slapstick and too talky, The Other Woman is oddly watchable for being such a mess. When it isn't pandering to Upton's inability, Melissa Stack's script has a plainspoken sharpness that exceeds chick-flick expectations. (Diaz to Leslie Mann's Kate: "One day, that ring is gonna just be a ring. You're gonna take it off and it'll be something you used to wear.") Most everyone here seems to be operating on her own frequency and it takes almost an hour for any semblance of chemistry to set in. Leslie Mann's Kate is grating, but also the only character with palpable depth, as she struggles with leaving her philandering husband, Mark (Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and fucks up a few times.
It's refreshing to see a story in which the cheatee doesn't focus her blame on the other woman (it helps that both Diaz's and Upton's characters were given no indication that Mark was married), but The Other Woman's premise is ultimately a less stabby retelling of female-revenge flicks: You watch women get mistreated by a man for the first half, and then they enact their revenge. Their punishments may exceed the crime, but who cares he's a cheating scum. Feed him estrogen that makes him bud boobs! Give him laxatives! Nair his shampoo! Rub his toothbrush in the toilet! Ruin him financially forever! Say it loud, all together: I spit on your infidelity!
This movie and its clear inspiration, The First Wives Club, conflate catharsis with equality. They're too busy going over the top of getting even to really examine cheating and why it's so prevalent and why then we continue to cling to strict monogamy as a societal ideal. I wouldn't go to a Cameron Diaz comedy for such a meditation, but in an early scene, her Carly tells Mann's Kate, "Everything fails and monogamy is not natural." It's a strange thing for a character in a movie like this to say. She seems to get it, but the movie won't (and, for the sake of its box office, probably can't) allow her to really get it.