Film Review & Trailer: What Men Want

Frances Winston reviews this loose reboot of What Women Want

Directed by: Adam Shankman – Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Tracy Morgan

If the title of this film sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a reboot of the 2000 Mel Gibson offering (remember when people still liked him) What Women Want. Well I say reboot, but the makers describe it as a “loose remake”.

In the original offering, Gibson played a chauvinistic advertising executive, who developed the ability to hear women’s thoughts after an accident. Obviously, as the title suggests, in this offering the protagonist is female, with Henson taking on the role of a female sports agent, who is passed over for promotion in favour of a less deserving male colleague.

After an encounter with a psychic, she develops the power to hear men’s thoughts, and uses it to help fulfil her career ambitions. However, to use the cliché, with great power comes great responsibility, and she soon realises that these powers could be as much of a hindrance as a help.

I must admit I am getting tired of the trend for reboots. It is starting to feel as if Hollywood has run out of ideas. The additional trend of gender-swapping the original idea is doing nothing to ease my apathy, although it is great to see women taking the lead in such high-profile movies.

The original of this was actually great fun. Gibson and co-star, Helen Hunt, had fantastic chemistry, and indeed, both were award-nominated for their performances. While Henson is hilarious here, I can’t see her awards-haul increasing thanks to this role. The premise doesn’t work quite as well in reverse, despite moving the setting to the traditionally male-dominated arena of the sports agency.

Many of the scenarios here are incredibly predictable – including the conclusion – and while it is good fluffy fun, and well-paced, ultimately it feels more like the kind of movie you would watch snuggled up on the sofa, rather than on the big screen.

It is uneven at times, and not all of the jokes land. When it is good it is hilarious – mainly thanks to Henson – but it is riddled with clichés, and overall is rather so-so.

Light and frothy, this won’t open any great gender debates, but should prove a nice distraction for two hours.

In Cinemas Now! Trailer below:

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