Even Natalie Portman Doesn't Do 'The Other Woman' Much Justice
The only feeling I have to best describe this film is “Eh.” Its not that bad a film, because much of the story’s premise keeps you hooked simply for wanting to know what will happen next, however, that doesn’t take away the fact that ‘THE OTHER WOMAN’ carries a package full of dialog which flat-lines throughout the film, an overacting Lisa Kudrow—it’s beyond me why this woman is still cast in films—pacing so slow all three turtles I had as a kid seemed faster than this film, strange choices when editing and full of situations played out by [adults] so convoluted, one can imagine it being possible during marriage meltdowns, but even then I would think [adults] would carry a sense of logic and NOT lash out disappointments (Lisa Kudrow) in front of a child. They’re out there, but that’s expected among uneducated ghetto folks or those inhabiting trailers in the deep woods where incest is normal… but not among wealthy snotty professional elites with the “highest of education” living in NYC’s bubble of The Upper East/West Side of Manhattan.
Truth is no matter how mediocre this film may be, it still serves as a tutorial for those who embark on obtaining someone else’s spouse thinking it’ll be all fine and dandy, but slowly realizing that sometimes, life has a way of tangling you upon a web of consciousness, regrets and last but not least, tucking your tail between your legs and venturing out on redemption.
Families never turn out according to plan, and in ‘THE OTHER WOMAN,’ Emilia (Natalie Portman) finds herself the shunned stepmother. After “winning” Jack (Scott Cohen) away from his overly dramatic, insecure wife Carolyn (Lisa Kudrow), she finds herself hip deep in the cross-currents of a new hybrid family. But shadowing Emilia's every attempt to connect with her stubborn, precocious, nerdy, smartass, stepson William (Charlie Tahan) is the unbearable loss of a baby she and Jack had hoped would cement their new marriage.
I think if you’ve been following her career, it’s safe to say prior to ‘BLACK SWAN,’ Natalie Portman, as an artist, was testing daring duties to set aside that innocent victim-like look she carries. A stripper in ‘CLOSER’ and smoothly-directed short in ‘NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU’ teased us with what was on her mind. In ‘THE OTHER WOMAN’—formally titled ‘LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITES’ during 2009’s Toronto Film Festival—Natalie Portman’s knack for talent has us gaze over Emilia. A character driven with so many peculiarities, you sympathetically hate to love her while portraying a confused, semi-conniving, knocked up mistress, turned wife who finds herself struggling with acceptance on every angle after the death of her infant.
Scott Cohen does pretty well as Portman’s emotional punching-bag husband, as does Charlie Tahan the son/stepson who I think pretty much served as everyone’s string of consciousness in the film, and quite believable as a little know-it-all. The remaining supporting players pretty much serve their purpose as peripheral individuals; however, Lisa Kudrow will always be “Phoebe” from ‘FRIENDS.’ That’s her only role where she can claim perfection and winnings with; because everything form there on has been utter failure. I think she’s an attractive woman who can nail a certain type of role—to be honest, I wouldn’t mind watching her playing the ditzy girl/woman, but as any actor, I’m sure she’s looking to venture out, however, it’s just not working. If you beg to differ, name ONE film where she played a serious role and stood out as an artist and elevated the film’s strength and popularity? Go ahead… I’ll wait! (Place it in the comment box)
In conclusion, the film’s point of view on rich dysfunctional professionals is fun to watch and leaves us wondering. It lacks when thoroughly explaining who these people really are, but I guess one can’t ask for much when art imitates life in this case. If anything, it keeps you aware of what millions of other couples are going through these days, and think if this film didn’t have Natalie Portman, it’d probably be a straight to DVD film. Don’t expect this to win any kind of awards as its release is set for February 4—a wee bit too early and supported by a forgettable cast.
GRADE: C / GENRE: Drama, Romance and Adaptation / ROARS: 2½ out of 5
RATED: N/R / RUN TIME: 1 Hr. 45 Min.
STARRING: Natalie Portman, Scott Cohen, Charlie Tahan, Lisa Kudrow
DIRECTOR: Donald Roos
(IFC On-Demand, January 14 / IFC Theaters (NYC – Limited), February 4 – other cities check local listings)
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