A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sometimes very funny buddy comedy was originally rated R, but the MPAA lowered the rating to PG-13 after an appeal. Still, there's no shortage of iffy-for-younger-viewers material, starting with the premise: Three women (played by Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, and Kate Upton) form an offbeat friendship when they all realize they've been seeing the same man (one is actually married to him). Despite a plot revolving around cheating/infidelity, the messages that come through the strongest are the ones related to the women's friendship (which based on mutual respect) and mission (righting a wrong). Expect lots of innuendo/frank talk about sex (though no nudity) and relationships, kissing, scantily clad women and men, a little blood (a character walks into a glass door), swearing (mostly "s--t" and "a--hole"), some toilet humor (poop, vomit), and frequent social drinking, sometimes to excess.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
New York City lawyer Carly (Cameron Diaz) has no time for friends. She barely has time for a boyfriend. But when she meets handsome, charming entrepreneur Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), she's smitten enough to cast away all other suitors. Eight weeks into their relationship, she decides to surprise Mark at his Connecticut house ... but the door is opened by Kate (Leslie Mann), Mark's wife. Carly and Kate realize they've been played and form a fast, if awkward, friendship. When they discover that Mark has yet another fling (Kate Upton), they spin into action.
Is it any good?
This movie is entertaining and sometimes insightful, even empowering, especially in the way it turns the idea of two (or, in this case, multiple) women vying for one man's attentions on its head. Here, the competition is immediately neutralized in the service of sisterhood, a refreshingly different take on the usual sexist tropes. Diaz is especially appealing for her ability to be acidic and embracing at the same time. Carly could have easily become the woman most wives would want to hate, but she's isn't. That's because Diaz plays her with knowing and compassion, and the friendship that develops between Kate and Carly is a bond based on true common ground.
But is The Other Woman good? Sure, in a baby-steps kind of way. But the "girl power" aspect is diluted by stereotypical bantering between the women that seems to only cover the same old tired subjects: body image, boy trouble, and grooming. Aren't women much more complicated than that? Especially those who hold high-level legal jobs and visionaries who ostensibly have sellable business ideas? It doesn't help that Upton's character is played as a ditz. Still, this buddy comedy is an improvement on many others that have preceded it. And that's worth applauding.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Other Woman's take on female friendships. How is it portrayed here compared to other stories about two women who like the same man? What messages does it offer about friendships between women?
Do you think the movie undermines or embraces stereotypes about women? Do the main characters' conversations and relationships seem realistic to you?
The movie was originally rated R before being downgraded to PG-13. Is that rating appropriate, or is it too mature for a PG-13? Why do you think the filmmakers pursued the lower rating?
- In theaters: April 25, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: July 29, 2014
- Cast: Leslie Mann, Cameron Diaz, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Kate Upton, Nicki Minaj
- Director: Nick Cassavetes
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 109 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic material, sexual references and language
- Last updated: March 13, 2020
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