Billed as an "erotic thriller," THE OTHER WOMAN is high in the titillation department, but the thriller element plays more like a Zalman King version of DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN without laughs.
Jessica Matthews (Lee Anne Beaman), a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper, is consumed with being a successful reporter, much to the detriment of her marriage to Greg Matthews (Adrian Zmed), a bestselling self-help book author. When Greg announces that he must embark on a tour to promote his new
book Letting Go, Jessica hardly notices. Instead, she becomes deeply immersed in researching an expose on influential businessman Mike Florian (Sam Jones). But her priorities begin to shift when, shortly after Greg's departure, she discovers suggestive photos of an attractive woman returned with
Making some calls, Jessica finds the woman in the photos to be one Traci Collins (Jenna Persaud), a sultry, sexy free spirit who lives in a walk-up apartment with an open door and makes her living as a prositute, escort and nude model. Following Traci around LA, Jessica becomes obsessed with her
and finds herself envying her lifestyle. Agreeing to meet with her for lunch, Jessica befriends her in order to teach her a lesson about fooling around with her husband. But when Jessica confronts her about Greg's involvement, Traci denies having slept with him. Jessica follows her back to her
apartment to apologize but finds Traci in the midst of a beating by her pimp, Carl (Daniel Moriarity). After Jessica chases Carl away, Traci snuggles up to her and they make love.
In the morning, Jessica steps into the shower and Traci's friend Paul (Craig Stepp) appears and they too make love. Unfortunately for Jessica, the whole night at Traci's has been a set-up and she has been videotaped with Traci and photographed with Paul. When this incriminating evidence is sent to
her newspaper, she promptly loses her job. Arriving back home, she finds Florian there, revealing that he was the person responsible for her downfall. Right after Florian announces that he plans to kill her, Traci, having a change of heart, arrives in the nick of time to help Jessica fight off
Florian, who is arrested.
When Greg returns, Jessica greets him in a sexy nightgown and they go to bed. As they make love, her ex-boss calls her and leaves a message on her phone machine that she now has a new and better job at the newspaper. Jessica, in voice-over, announces, "I found the other woman and she was me."
THE OTHER WOMAN attempts to be something more than a kinky, softcore porn skin-fest and for that it must be commended. Unfortunately, except for the nude scenes, it fails on almost all counts--as a thriller, as a romance, as a sexual manifesto and certainly as a feminist tract. In fact, Jessica's
sexual "awakening" betrays a hideously conservative ideal--that is, the only "real" woman is the one who will forsake her career and submit herself fully to her man. It's true that Traci helps Jessica shed her sexual inhibitions, but only so that the neglectful wife can better serve her husband.
As much as the film fails in its "liberated" message, it also fails in its thriller aspect. Attempting to evoke films as disparate as VERTIGO, LAURA and SHARKEY'S MACHINE, THE OTHER WOMAN reveals neither character depth nor suspense. Jessica does not convince the viewer that she is so intrigued by
Traci that she will squirm around with her at the first opportunity, in spite of a tacky flashback sequence of a younger Jessica catching her mother in bed with another woman. Nor does Traci deliver a convincing turnaround in coming to Jessica's aid from being in cahoots with Florian. And the
climactic scene between Florian and Jessica is so ineptly staged that it delivers yocks instead of shocks.
THE OTHER WOMAN's chief fault is its dishonesty. To claim so much and deliver so little makes a viewer long for the simpler pleasures of TWO MOON JUNCTION. (Profanity, excessive nudity.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Billed as an "erotic thriller," THE OTHER WOMAN is high in the titillation department, but the thriller element plays more like a Zalman King version of DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN without laughs. Jessica Matthews (Lee Anne Beaman), a reporter for a Los Ang… (more)