What Men Want

With the endless stream of Hollywood remakes, one film that comes as a surprise is a gender-swapped twist on the film What Women Want (2000) starring Mel Gibson .

Directed by Adam Shankman, (Hairspray) Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, Empire) carries the film with charisma and endearingly over-the-top performance as Ali Davis, a non-nonsense sports agent. Ali, frustrated with how the ‘boys club’ of an agency she works for has passed her over for a promotion in spite of her high-achieving status. But, she finds an unexpected advantage when an eccentric psychic gives her tea that allows her to read men’s thoughts. Things become even more complicated when a handsome bartender, and his son enter her life.

“That’s just Jasmine tea. If you don’t count the weed, and the peyote, and the crack.”

Silly and corny in a way that comedy-driven Hollywood movies typically are; the critic’s reactions have been unsurprisingly harsh. It garnered a meagre 45% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives it 4.0 out of 10. The film is a little too ridiculous at times, and it has a very typical ham-fisted message about finding balance in life. The film isn’t a very deep or original twist on the old movie. Instead of taking a misogynist and giving him the ability to hear women, it focuses on a tough woman trying to make it in the corporate becoming less ruthless, while never losing her drive. Neither film reaches levels of greatness, but the retold version is more compelling.

The performances and overall comedic timing makes What Men Want work. Ali’s dynamic with her hapless assistant Brandon, played by Josh Brener (Max Steel) is well-developed and written. Brandon’s romantic subplot with another man is one of the most genuinely charming points in the film.

“I can hear your inner thoughts!”

What Men Want has surprisingly striking photography, with scene transitions that are smooth and creative. From the lighting to the costume designs, the film does its best to stand out with bright, bold colours. Both, the presentation and the performances can border on coming off as too much. The only thing restraining it from crossing the line, is a resonate commentary on bigoted workplaces, and the comedic moments that do hit home. And there are more than a few of them. One moment, in particular, earned the film an R rating in the U.S.A for a hilariously confusing sex scene. Other highlights, include a wedding that goes horribly wrong, resulting in a brawl more befitting a bar scene.

What Men Want might not tackle any new ideas when it comes to the Hollywood comedy formula, but it’s nevertheless, a fun romp with lovable characters and some memorable comedic moments.

What Men Want is currently showing in cinemas. You can watch the trailer here:

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