Despite its respected cast, accomplished director and distinguished source author, "The Other Man" is, at best, a minor work. That's not to say this atypical hybrid of romantic melodrama and twisty thriller should be avoided; there are several effective surprises and intellectual pleasures to be had here. But approaching the film with, let's say, lowered expectations may go a long way toward appreciating what it attempts, as well as what it achieves.
Based on a short story by German writer Bernhard Schlink, who also penned the novel on which last year's excellent "The Reader" was based, "The Other Man" stars an especially sober Liam Neeson as Peter, a successful computer software executive long married to Lisa (Laura Linney), a celebrated high-end shoe designer who disappears after startling her husband with some blunt comments about marital fidelity -- or her lack thereof.
Thanks to the revealing contents of a laptop and cellphone that Lisa has curiously left behind, a distraught Peter discovers she's been having an affair and becomes obsessed with tracking down her lover. This takes Peter from his Cambridge, England, home to Milan, where he quickly meets and befriends said paramour, the dashing, seemingly well-off Ralph (Antonio Banderas, not fully up to the multi-task of playing a Spanish-Brit mix living in Italy).