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Movie reviews: 'The Other Woman,' 'Brick Mansions'

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"The Other Woman" (PG-13) **1/2 stars (out of four)

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned -- times three – in "The Other Woman," a slightly above average romantic comedy that's mostly unremarkable except for the fact that it features Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton in her first major screen role (she had a smaller role in "The Three Stooges").

The film begins with Carly (Cameron Diaz), who discovers after two months of dating the handsome, charismatic Mark ("Game of Thrones" star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), that he's concealing his marriage to ditzy Kate (Leslie Mann). Claiming innocence because she didn't know Mark was hitched, Carly eventually forms a unique bond with Kate – which is further strengthened when the two discover there's yet another other woman, Amber (Upton), who is also being fooled by the lout. Together the trio can only come up with one solution to satisfy their heartaches: hit the philandering Mark where it hurts the most.

While there are plenty of funny moments in "The Other Woman" to keep its target audience (adult women) amused, there's really nothing original enough in the film to make it rise above similar fare. You at least get the sense that director Nick Cassavetes ("The Notebook") is trying hard to muster an actual story we can find interesting. Upton stands out in the film for two reasons, first because she has a couple big swimsuit scenes; and second, because she's a terrible actress who comes off like she's reading off of cue cards. Hopefully she'll improve over time, because right now she's no match for more seasoned actresses like Diaz and Mann.

"Brick Mansions" (PG-13) *1/2 stars (out of four)

Paul Walker gives it his all in what proved to be his last fully-completed role in "Brick Mansions," a high-octane action film that crumbles in a preachy attempt at making a social statement at the conclusion of the film.

Walker stars as Damien, an undercover narcotics officer in 2018 Detroit whose sole mission is to take down the murderous drug kingpin Tremaine (rapper RZA) – who rules with an iron fist in the dilapidated Brick Mansions neighborhood, which is sealed off by walls from the rest of the city. Pairing with a neighborhood do-gooder (French star David Belle) who is trying to rescue his ex-girlfriend (a stunning Catalina Denis) from the clutches of Tremaine, Damien is tasked to disarm a neutron bomb that's fallen into the hands of his adversary, only to discover there's a much more sinister plan at play.

Thanks to the acrobatic fight scenes orchestrated by Belle, "Brick Mansions" fares better than Walker's most recent "Fast & Furious" film in the thrills department. But once the heart of the film is exposed and the filmmakers roll out their feeble attempt to convince you that should be rooting for criminal scum who've suddenly become socially conscious, "Brick Mansions" loses all credibility. True, there are politicians in the film that come off as worse because of their dastardly deeds, but criminals are criminals, and there is no excuse to glorify any of them.

Tim Lammers is a veteran entertainment reporter and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. He annually votes on the Critics Choice Movie Awards. Locally, he reviews films for BringMeTheNews, “KARE 11 News at 11” and 96.3 K-TWIN, among other radio stations.

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