Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2014. Twentieth Century Fox, LBI Productions. Screenplay by Melissa Stack. Cinematography by Robert Fraisse. Produced by Julie Yorn. Music by Aaron Zigman. Production Design by Dan Davis. Costume Design by Paolo Nieddu. Film Editing by Jim Flynn, Alan Heim.
Cameron Diaz is a high-class lawyer who opens the film with her perfect life only getting better: gorgeous and successful Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is her new boyfriend. Everything is going along smoothly until an argument separates them and she decides to be the one to heal the rift, showing up at his suburban mansion and encountering at the front door not his handsome self but his quirky wife (Leslie Mann). Here is where expectation dictates that the fur should fly, but this bubbly comedy mines the alternative by showing what could happen if women banded together and blamed the real culprit (i.e. the one who actually broke a promise) instead of the perceived threat (i.e. you hate a woman because you think she might be better than you). Diaz and Mann become allies, later drawing a third player into their fun when it turns out the object of their vengeance has already started up with a much younger woman (Kate Upton). Here another expectation is reversed, the older, wiser gals taking the gorgeous young lady with the astoundingly beach-ready body under their wing instead of making war on her. Overlong, poorly directed (Nick Cassavetes apparently edited with a pair of dull scissors) and featuring a few dud performances (does Taylor Kinney‘s frozen smile face understand the meaning of motion pictures?), this one seems to get away with murder given its flaws. The rebellion is irresistible despite the fact that it is completely disingenuous; like The First Wives Club before it, Hollywood seems to be most comfortable with females discovering power when they are also rich and white (and unlike in real life, rich white women in movies are hilariously funny). The camaraderie between the leads, especially Mann’s wickedly humorous verbal-diarrhea Daffy Duck routine and Diaz as the frustrated, cynical Bugs Bunny, makes it endlessly enjoyable, constantly defying incredible odds (which also include some uncomfortable inclusions of unnecessary gory violence in the conclusion) to make for a satisfying comedy. The indulgences of potty humour and crazy slapstick avoid the strident overkill of The Heat, while the gorgeous locations (which include a trip to sunny Bahamas) make this the perfect update of the Doris Day romantic comedy tradition, or a modern version of How To Marry A Millionaire.