OtherWomancoverGrade: B
Entire family: No (not for younger children)
2014, 109 min., Color
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references, and language
20th Century Fox
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Featured audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Includes: Blu-ray, Digital HD Copy
Bonus features: D

Rare is the sex comedy that lives up to its PG-13 rating. Most of them push those boundaries like a teen testing curfew. But The Other Woman is pretty accurately PG-13 rated, with the most questionable scene coming conveniently in the opening, when concerned parents can tell their ‘tweens to make themselves a snack. But even that scene doesn’t show anything. There’s no nudity, only sexual references, and they’re all comic. And the language is tame compared to most PG-13 movies these days.

First-time screenwriter Melissa Stack and director Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) offer a variation of the 1980 light comedy Nine to Five, in which three women got revenge on their lying, cheating, sexist pig of a boss—only now, rather than being co-workers, the women are strangers to each other who have unknowingly slept with the same man. The filmmakers also cast by two established actresses—Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann—alongside a relative newcomer who’s better known for a different field of entertainment. In this case it’s model Kate Upton, who graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for the past two years.

Though Nine to Five played out as an ensemble film, The Other Woman is totally taken over by Mann, who swipes every scene with her hilariously sympathetic portrayal of a needy, ditzy, and slightly manic wife who’s surprised one day at her front door by someone who turns out to be “the other woman” (Diaz), dressed as a naughty plumber and asking for her husband by name. That he’s having an affair is nearly as shocking to her as it is for lawyer Kate to discover he’s married.  

Carly: He’s married, okay? He has a wife.
Assistant: And you don’t think you could take her?

Other woman Carly would rather write off the last two months as a big mistake, but there’s no escaping Kate, who needs a friend now more than ever and has decided that by default Carly is IT. When a third woman (Upton as Amber) enters the picture, all three of them start their own little sisterhood of the traveling spyglasses and plot to get even with chronic cheater Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau).

Carly: If we find any more mistresses, I’m going to have to send her to rehab.

OtherWomanscreenNicki Minaj does a pretty good Rosie Perez imitation as Carly’s assistant, while Don Johnson (who seems to have found a third career playing hip or boozy fathers of women) is her much-married dad, and Taylor Kinney plays Kate’s brother.

But there could be a cast of thousands and it would still be Mann’s movie. She plays her character like a cross between the old Katharine Hepburn screwball comedy heiresses and Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, lurching linguistically or figuratively from scene to scene and squeezing laughs out of just about anything.

“Fifty times? You slept with him 50 times? Don’t you have a job?”

It’s lightweight, formulaic fun that would normally hover in the C+ to B- range, but Mann’s antics push it into solid B territory. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, some of which come from the lines, but most of which are the result of ad libs . . . and Mann’s MAD libs. Diaz gets as many funny lines, but Mann’s energy is genially overpowering. This is one “chick flick” that might work as a family movie because of the humor. It’s light, it’s predictable, and its funny—but not in the raunchy manner of Bridesmaids. Well, except for one barfing scene that’s actually among the funniest.