Watched Date: 5/13/2019
If the title looks a bit familiar, What Men Want is, basically, a gender-swapped remake of the Nancy Meyers 2000 hit What Women Want starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard it wasn’t the best romantic comedy to come out. It made money, though. But this time around, the character of Ali Davis (played by Taraji P. Henson) can hear men’s inner thoughts after drinking a weird kind of tea and uses her powers to her advantage with her profession as a sports agent since she feels like she doesn’t compete well enough with her male colleagues. Was this bad enough to not turn this into a television show?
After watching the trailer multiple times in theaters two years ago, I would’ve assumed What Men Want was going to be the worst comedy to come out last year, which is why I didn’t waste my time going to the theater to see this for myself. But it wasn’t. Does that mean I had a good time watching it? Nope, it’s still a very forgettable comedy that should’ve been delightful. When I first heard this was going to happen, the only thing I thought of right away was that Chappelle Show sketch that had the same premise, but it was funny. Director Adam Shankman’s filmography is definitely hit-or-miss because even though he has done the fabulous remake of Hairspray, he’s also responsible for The Pacifier. And it doesn’t help when the screenplay by Tina Gordon, Peter Hyuck and Alex Gregory doesn’t do anyone any favors.
But did it make me laugh, that’s the question needing to be answered. That would be a no. About the first 30 minutes was when this was going to be horrible for the rest of the runtime. From what I can recall over a year ago, I might’ve chuckled about two times, but the rest of the jokes attempted were poorly written due to how cliche they were along with the entire story that doesn’t even try to pull in those surprises. Ali hearing what men are thinking came off too unrealistic most of the time since there’s no way nobody thinks about sex every minute of every day. We’ve all wondering if we could read every person’s thoughts, but What Men Want made it seem like it would be stupid since this is the kind of premise suited well-enough two decades ago. Probably the stupidest scene in all of this was this awful wedding scene that went too far out to be over-the-top. And it’s not a “meh” comedy if there weren’t outtakes during the credits.
While I’m not a fan of Henson, this was a way of showing off her comedic chops rather than seeing her in dramatic roles where I think she becomes over-the-top. Those who are fans of the Oscar-nominated actress will have no problems. For what she had to do. she played the part right, but there wasn’t enough investment to make me care about what’s going to happen since I already knew before pressing play on my Firestick. Not the kind of performance I expected her to do, even if she was trying to be Mel Gibson’s counterpart.
Other male supporting players like Tracy Morgan, who was promoted heavily in the movie’s marketing, and I’m still wondering why, Max Greenfield, Pete Davidson, and Josh Brener as Ali’s gay assistant Brandon can be said the same about Henson when a couple of the characters were afterthoughts. Although, Brener wasn’t half bad. I did like Aldis Hodge in here as he plays Henson’s love interest Will, who’s a bartender and single father, and the both of them were fine as a couple, nothing too surprising where they went up.
There was no reason for this to be remade. Even though What Men Want isn’t a terrible comedy, there’s not a lot from this to get any laughs from a story that has been done before that more people would easily recognize. I would’ve been better watching What Women Want, just to see if it’s a guilty pleasure or not. The right director or writers could’ve made this decent, but look where we are. If I did see this in the theater, I have to wonder if the rest of the audience members had any big laughs from this, especially from the guy’s perspective. Overall, lame.
Overall Grade: C