'The Other Woman' Tops The Box Office, Despite Really, Really, Really Bad Reviews
Is this a victory for ladies everywhere or a total failure? The Other Woman topped the box office on Friday, while raking in 9.3 million, beating out Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This proves that apparently this audience was not adhering to what reviewers said.
And those reviewers said some scathing things. It's been cited as "dimwitted." The Guardian gave it a single star, saying that it had a "dumb dumb feminist message." Stephen Holden of The New York Times cut even deeper, saying:
This female revenge comedy is so dumb, lazy, clumsily assembled and unoriginal, it could crush any actor forced to execute its leaden slapstick gags and mouth its crude, humorless dialogue.
But as predicted, despite negative reviews, the movie did do really well. It was predicted that the movie would succeed on account of a few thing including Jaime Lannister (two hands, here!), Cameron Diaz's recent candor about vaginas, and the fact that there aren't a lot of comedies marketed towards women. Granted, women like all kinds of comedies, but there haven't been too many major motion pictures touted as comedies with women at the forefront. And even though this movie was, as reviewers collectively came to decide, absolute garbage, it did well because we're not giving some actresses any better comedic material.
But it may also occur to you just how bad — how bad — it is that this is what we have to offer Mann and Diaz, who show themselves in these moments to be really able comic actresses: a story in which they play idiots with no interests of any kind except bickering over an utterly charmless man and then satisfying themselves that giving him explosive diarrhea and prominent nipples constitutes satisfying revenge for his having apparently robbed both of them of whatever souls and outside interests they once possessed.
Basically, we have capable actresses who are playing bitchy vengeful women who create friendships by destroying other people. We can offer female actresses — and hell, female audiences — something better than that. This goes beyond giving female actresses pure froth; this movie apparently gave women a bad name and reduced funny women to being conniving while resorting to base conflict resolution. These women also defied feminism by obliterating their entire worlds because of some d-bag guy.
So, the women won at the box office because women aren't going to sit around twiddling their thumbs until The Nest comes out in theaters. Women are going to show up to the theaters with fingers crossed that they'll get to see spunky actresses execute something that's at least moderately entertaining.
Right now, we're cheering on Frozen as it crushes records at the box office because of its two strong female heroines. We're lucky to have The Hunger Games trilogy with Katniss Everdeen as a strong female character. Interestingly enough, these two movies are targeted towards younger audiences, even if they have won the hearts and minds of everyone, regardless of age. Frozen is also animated and The Hunger Games is an action flick What about the middle-aged women who flocked to see The Other Woman who wants to go with her girlfriends to see a raunchy comedy? (I'm looking at you, Mom.)
Every now and then, we get lucky and we get a movie like Bridesmaids, which sees both critical adulation and high box office stats. But this success is too haphazard. While we can hope for a change at the big studios, we're unlikely to see one — after all, if it's making money why change things? Sigh.