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Photo by Barry Wetcher - Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

I enjoy watching Cameron Diaz onscreen, but The Other Woman is not so much a comedy as an endurance test, even for an admirer like me. It’s stupid at the outset and just gets dumber; by the midway point I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Talented comedienne Leslie Mann plays a character so shrill and enervating that this female-centric movie winds up insulting the very people it purports to celebrate.

The plot, in sum: successful New York attorney Diaz has a handsome and worldly new boyfriend, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. After eight weeks of bliss, she discovers that he’s married and accidentally meets his wife (Mann) at their home in Connecticut. Diaz breaks off the relationship, but Mann is a lost soul with nowhere to turn, so she clings to savvy Diaz for help. Later in the improbable story they recruit another victim of Coster-Waldau’s promiscuous ways: sexy, swimsuit-ready Kate Upton.

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Photo by Barry Wetcher - Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

It would be pointless to dwell on further plot turns because most of them make no sense, even within the boundaries of a farce. At one point, career-oriented Diaz abandons her work to spend days and nights stalking Coster-Waldau with Mann and Upton as they plot their revenge on the cocky womanizer. Part of that revenge, in Melissa Stack’s witless screenplay, involves—wait for it—a laxative!

I don’t demand a great deal from a glossy Hollywood comedy, but it would be nice to find a smarter, more original piece of work than this in the year 2014. Diaz may have felt comfortable with director Nick Cassavetes, who guided her in My Sister’s Keeper, and in the picture’s best moments the women seem genuinely relaxed with each other. But those fleeting moments can’t salvage such a colossally inane, empty-headed movie.