Danielle Henderson Savages The Other Woman in Best Review Ever
Oh how I love a good bad review but in this case a female writer unleashes her pent up fury against not just The Other Woman but the whole concept of the suffocating genre known as the rom-com, defined here as product to lure female kind into man-hating mode — but only because they are drawn to cads who hurt them repeatedly. This is a revenge fantasy that many women might not be able to resist. At the same time the only thing the press deems worth noting about this movie is the introduction of Kate Upton’s massive boobs to cinema. This is Bo Derek running down the beach with corn rows in Ten, a movie remembered for nothing else. Most of us just kind of endure this torture but The Stranger’s Danielle Henderson took a nice big juicy bite. I love it because so many people will be upset by this review. I love to see a woman venting anywhere but especially writing on film on the internet because they are often bullied into being “nice” and “polite” by men who tag them as bitches (which they often define as “feminists”). So I often wait for any film critic to grow a pair and dive right in. I’ve been waiting a very long time. Most either do not exist anymore or prefer to “blend in” and not define themselves as “feminist” or biased against film based on their sex. But in so doing, it is like the queen on the chess board playing the game as a pawn. Maybe as a bishop but mostly as a pawn. But here you seen the queen with all of her armor intact, and dominating the board:
The Other Woman is an exercise in futility, pointing out all the ways women should be punished for existing.
This is a movie starring three women and it still does not pass the Bechdel test, because the focus of our ovary-having lives should clearly be focused on landing some primetime dick, which comes to us in the form of beady-eyed leading man Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. All of the lead actresses (Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton) are as close to the patriarchal ideal as you can get and they still don’t measure up, so the filmmakers create a gauntlet of fuckery to remind them how disgusting, flawed, and monstrous they are. That this is all done in the name of sisterhood is the final kick to the uterus the filmmakers think we deserve.
Hey, I’m all about the primetime dick – a worthy pursuit – but is all there is?
The point of this movie is not sisterhood, but making sure women band together in the name of heterosexual competition. Cameron Diaz is too sexy, Leslie Mann is too frumpy, and Kate Upton is boobs, but boobs that are not good enough to keep a man goddammit. Nicki Minaj joins this horror show as the Sassy Black Secretary™ (it’s 2014, right?), filmed from the ass out in every scene just to make sure Ida B. Wells does a few extra spins in her grave. But the casual racism doesn’t end with Nicki Minaj’s Hottentot Venus treatment—oh fuck no! Cameron Diaz’s dad (played by slimy, reanimated Don Johnson) takes her to his favorite restaurant; it’s called No Hands, because the Thai women servers will not let you touch anything, and just sort of hang behind you, placing bottles to your lips and food in your mouth. When the object of their revenge is fed estrogen for a while and his nipples swell up like pencils, he nervously comments that he should be featured in an “African documentary”. They throw in a joke about transgender for good measure, then everyone ends up in the Bahamas, where they drive the topless Jeep of colonialism over the bodies of my disenfranchised ancestors.
Another great review from NPR’s Linda Holmes (thanks to Stacy for pointing it out):
It is the most grotesque pantomime of girl power, these beautiful women clinking glasses and ultimately trading what must be the weakest and least earned high-five in cinema history after executing a plot made possible by one of their daddies and done with considerably more panache in the painfully generic but at least mildly agreeable 1987 Michael J. Fox film The Secret of My Success.
Now, you probably might agree, as some commenters over at The Stranger do, that this is misappropriated anger. Surely this film doesn’t take itself too seriously and we might cut it some slack because it was written by a woman. The point isn’t whether this film deserves this wrath. The point is there aren’t enough angry women writers out there nailing Hollywood for its outdated tropes directed at women. Many of us sit on our hands or bite our inner cheeks at the way too-polite female writers out there who prefer to just get along in this absurd universe of narrative film where women are reduced to the sum of their body parts and are measured almost solely by how attractive they are to men. I am old enough to remember a time when women were worth a lot more on film than they are today.