It’s a shame that The Other Woman didn’t quite come together. I thought Natalie Portman once against puts on a good and even brave performance but everything else around her from the supporting cast (mainly the miscasting of a love interest) to the story itself doesn’t help matters.
MPI | R – 102 min. – $29.98 | May 17, 2011
Directed by: Don Roos
Writer(s): Ayelet Waldman (novel); Don Roos (written by)
Cast: Natalie Portman, Scott Cohen, Lauren Ambrose, Lisa Kudrow
Theatrical Release Date: February 4, 2011
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
THE MOVIE – 2.75/5
Plot: Emilia (NATALIE PORTMAN) is a Harvard law school graduate who falls in love with her married boss, Jack (SCOTT COHEN), a high-powered New York lawyer. Starting a new life together, Emilia and Jack’s happiness turns to grief when they lose their newborn daughter. Devastated but determined to carry on, Emilia struggles to connect with her precocious new stepson William (CHARLIE TAHAN) and resist the interference of Jack’s jealous ex-wife (LISA KUDROW).
The Other Woman is a somber flick to say the least. It has a few solid performances primarily from lead Natalie Portman once again proving that she is indeed a talented actress and not the same person we saw in the Star Wars prequels lending more credence to how bad of a filmmaker George Lucas really is. In any case, Portman has several great scenes that truly save the movie from being bad to merely mediocre.
Where the film flounders is with the supporting cast. Firstly, I generally loathe child actors and it carries from every genre as any characters under the age of 10 generally act about 3 times their age and talk down to adults who are either dumber than the kid or prop up the kid’s actions. Sometimes kid actors pay off as it did for Home Alone and The Sixth Sense and then others they’re annoying brats. Here, the young actor, Charlie Tahan (I Am Legend), is a mix of the two as he pushes his stepmother’s buttons by bringing up the dead baby and the baby’s unused items that can bring in money on EBay. Yeah, he’s a real charmer.
The movie also features Lauren Ambrose (“Six Feet Under”) in a small role as Portman’s best friend while Lisa Kudrow plays up the bitchy ex-wife who does what she can to demean Emilia to the point that, like her son, brings up the fact her baby had died. Later there is a scene that tries to at least redeem the character… somewhat but she’s so unlikable that it’s yet another character I was more annoyed with.
However, as much as two of the supporting players brought nothing but annoyance to the picture, I think my biggest gripe is with Scott Cohen (Love and Other Drugs). He’s not bad in the role but he doesn’t share a whole lot of chemistry with Portman so their relationship, which is a central aspect to the film, never felt real.
The Other Woman is based upon a novel called “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” by Ayelet Waldman and adapted and directed by Don Roos who directed Bounce with Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow, the ensemble drama Happy Endings co-starring Kudrow and also wrote the screenplay for the tearjerker Marley & Me. Point is, Mr. Roos obviously has the eye for somber pictures and if not for some off casting and the kid, this might’ve been a passable drama.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5
All we get is the theatrical trailer (2:20; HD) along with previews for other IFC films including the ensemble comedy Peep World starring Judy Greer, Michael C. Hall, Kate Mara, Ben Schwartz, Sarah Silverman and Rainn Wilson.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
The video transfer for The Other Woman isn’t overly impressive but certainly good enough. The detail levels look fine, colors seem to be evenly distributed without looking under or over-saturated and I noticed no signs of dust and/or scratches. That being said, it’s not exactly a picture that pops off the screen.
AUDIO – 3.5/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio in the meantime is satisfactory, though not much beyond that. The dialogue levels sounded good but there’s not much here even during the louder scenes or with John Swihart’s half-decent score.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, it’s a shame that The Other Woman didn’t quite come together. I thought Natalie Portman once against puts on a good and even brave performance but everything else around her from the supporting cast (mainly the miscasting of a love interest) to the story itself doesn’t help matters. As for the Blu-ray, there’s on the theatrical trailer so we don’t know how the film was approached though I suspect it’d consist of ass-kissing. The video and audio transfers are decent but ultimately unremarkable.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.