Josh BrenerKristen Ledlow...
In 3 Cinemas
What Women Want premiered in 2000 and, unlike the recent knock off with a gender swap – What Men Want, the former film was actually funny, insightful, and memorable, while the latter was just disappointing.
What Men Want follows powerhouse sports agent Ali (Taraji P. Henson), as she attempts to use her newly acquired psychic ability to read men’s thoughts to become a partner at her firm. The boy’s club nature of Ali’s firm is why she has not yet achieved that goal, but will knowing what men really want help Ali finally get what she really wants?
Explaining the plot seems like a moot point; you have seen it before. It’s too familiar and riddled with clichés. The film’s beginning seems somewhat promising with the gender swap supposedly offering a new perspective into men’s psyche, but the film just plays on the same male stereotypes; you will want to scream “Stop!” right in the middle of the movie theatre.
Even most of the jokes in the film offer nothing new, to the point that audiences can see the punch line coming. Some situational jokes (that should not be spoiled) were quite interesting, but they were way too few of them for a comedy with this much material and potential.
What Men Want is also confused about what it actually wants to say; is it trying to empower women? It doesn’t seem like it. Is it trying to give insight into the brains of men? Because it absolutely does not. Is it trying to say something about sexism in the workplace? Because it only uses it as an obstacle in Ali’s way, not as the main issue.
As for the acting, Taraji P. Henson is undeniably an amazing actress, but due to the film’s setup and its dialogue, there is nothing she could have done to make this movie better (except maybe throw out the entire script, and write up a new one). Playing Henson’s assistant, Josh Brener managed to add a sense of refreshing and unique comedy, which was much welcomed by the audience.
What Men Want might be an okay movie for a girls’ night in or a bored Tuesday night at the cinema, but in both cases, you will probably only see this once and if you had any high expectations, you are very likely to be somewhat disappointed.