Nick Cassavetes is back, but you can put away the Kleenex. After flushing your tear-ducts in “The Notebook” and forcing you to face heart-wrenching decisions in “My Sister’s Keeper,” Cassavetes has directed a comedy. There’s timeworn material here, but if you lower your expectations just a bit, you will laugh loudly, fully – and often. There’s some craziness in the story’s retelling. His movies are always about casting and performance and he’s working with a talented pair of actresses who keep us entertained because they’re so obviously enjoying what they’re doing. Cameron Diaz is looking more “weathered” as she parties her way into her forties, but she’s right for the role. Leslie Mann brings such a sense of silly innocence, childlike cluelessness, joyful goofiness to every line she says. She commandeers the movie with her off-kilter energy and refreshes the recycled situations with her fearless comedic talent.
Kate Upton is a kind of “third wheel” – along for the ride to provide eye candy for the journey. This is an entertaining movie, but far from a classic: too many sequences are stretched out, going nowhere; too much action is covered with musical montages; too many times, every woman is talking at once. Poor pacing ruins some jokes; you’ve seen these revenge tactics before. And watch the cellphones when the characters make calls; in many cases, they’re talking to the lock-screen. But think of this as a kind of “Oreo sandwich.” Even if you find the cookies just OK, there’s always “good stuff” in between. Here, the beginning is somewhat awkward and slow — and the ending is predictable and contrived – but there is lots and lots of “middle” and the middle is lots and lots of fun.