Author: Billy Madden
In December 2000, Paramount Pictures released Mel Gibson’s movie What Women Want. Gibson’s character, Nick, has an accident that allows him to hear women’s thoughts. Nick uses this new advantage throughout the movie to get ahead in his career. Fast forward to February of 2019, and Taraji P. Henson gives us What Men Want, following pretty much the same storyline, with Henson’s character Ali able to read men’s thoughts.
Henson plays a sports agent working at a male-dominated company. After being skipped over for a partner at her agency (to a man with less experience), Ali is told that she doesn’t belong because she cannot connect with men and other men. She is told to “stay in her lane.” The movie’s main thrust is Ali realizing her self-worth and gaining the confidence to compete with the men, even without her mind-reading ability.
I am not the target demographic for this type of movie. Still, What Men Want caught my interest with a promising trailer, and I am a fan of Henson’s other work (Hidden Figures and Empire). Additionally, when I used to work at Whole Foods, Henson would often come through my line, and she’s the nicest person you’ll ever meet. She has a special way of making you feel good. My impression of the movie is that she used this same energy to ad-lib jokes and create a fun atmosphere for her fellow actors.
That being said, some of the lines delivered throughout the movie were only worth a mild chuckle; nobody in the audience broke up with laughter. This lack of reaction was the product of a weak and predictable script. Many jokes and lines were recycled throughout the movie, and when a joke is flat from the get-go, it is best to abandon it. In the end, the only funny parts of the movie were those featured in the trailer.
I did enjoy the numerous cameos in the movie. Some real NBA and WNBA players made surprise appearances, everyone from Shaq to Mark Cuban. As a huge sports fan, these appearances were the movie’s highlights for me.
In total, the movie was well-acted. Still, only so much actors can do with a subpar script. There isn’t much more to say about What Men Want other than; if you’re in the mood to see a comedy of this sort, pop in a DVD of What Women Want instead. It is a much better experience. Or, wait until What Men Want hits Netflix.
Director: Adam Shankman
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Tracy Morgan, Aldis Hodge
Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a successful sports agent constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. When Ali is passed up for a well-deserved promotion, she questions what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world… until she can hear men’s thoughts! With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar. However, the lengths she has to go to will put her relationship with her best friends and a potential new love interest (Aldis Hodge) to the test.