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The Other Woman

By AARON MESH

Having perhaps intuited that her ballet baby would require a post-Oscar hiatus, Natalie Portman is everywhere this spring: Casually shtupping in No Strings Attached, being supportive of Thor, taking off her medieval pants for Your Highness, getting her reproductive decisions criticized by Mike Huckabee in whatever backwater hole where Mike Huckabee lives, and getting her parenting decisions criticized by just about everybody in The Other Woman. This last role probably required the least effort: Portman plays a Harvard-educated career gal whose assignation with a colleague makes her a wickedly acerbic stepmother to a nervous moppet (Charlie Tahan, as sweetly awkward as a tiny Crispin Glover). It's a nice fit for Portman, some almost-acting in an almost-movie based on some almost-literature by Ayelet Waldman. Also, there's the pallor of SIDS, so Portman gets to cry a lot. She and Tahan achieve some lovely Central Park scenes together—prickly and tender, like the filial bonding of intellectual porcupines—but the picture, almost-directed by Don Roos, contains much somber grieving and an inexplicable number of scenes where people start yelling at each other on the sidewalk, like they've forgotten about the existence of bystanders, or their own big-eared little pitcher. Their vulgarity belies the movie's toneless class.

 
  • Running Time:
  • Release Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Critic's Score: 61
  • Watch the trailer
 

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