IN 2000, in “What Women Want”, Mel Gibson played a chauvinist male who recovered from an accident to discover that he could understand what was going through the minds of the women he was with. It was moderately amusing.
Adam Shankman’s variation on that theme, with the roles of the sexes reversed, is not. I watched it among an audience among whom I saw only one other male. And I heard only two females giggle occasionally, at jokes that sometimes were a tad coarse.
Black American Ali (Taraji P. Henson) is a sports agent who wants a seat on the board of the company that employs her. Her private life is bossy, particularly where her live-in gay male factotum Brandon (Josh Brener) is concerned. She lives in an apartment along the corridor from a handsome Afro-American widower with a cute five-year-old son. Where these fundamental components are taking the film becomes abundantly clear very early on its boring nearly two hours.
I don’t know about you, but I believe that women’s rights about vocabulary are no different from men’s. In the matter of coarse jokes, I enjoy clever more than unclean. The jokes in “What Men Want” are neither. Tina Gordon’s screenplay is over-loaded with that word that I’m not allowed to say in print.
If this low-grade rubbish is what turns you on, you may find “What Men Want” satisfying. But it’s not funny, it’s not exciting, it’s not sexy, it’s not delivering any sort of message, its conflicts are low grade and its tensions are, well, pretty slack. I watched it because it was my job. That’s my explanation. You don’t have that excuse.
At Dendy, Capitol 6, Hoyts and Limelight