Saturday, February 16, 2019

Movie Review: "What Men Want" (2019)

Director: Adam Shankman
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

After getting passed over for a promotion, a female sports agent named Ali wishes she could know exactly what men want. After a visit from a psychic, a night of heavy drinking, and a bump on the head, she wakes up with the ability to hear the thoughts of all men.

What Men Want 2019 movie Max Greenfield
"When people hear voices, it's usually God or Satan, not their assistant." (Image Source)
If you are going to remake a movie, we would say it's definitely a better tactic to modernize mediocre, painfully dated films like Nancy Meyer's "What Women Want," a film where there's a good chance you can actually improve the story, rather than remaking a timeless classic where any improvement is almost impossible. "What Men Want" is directed by Adam Shankman, who is known for directing films like "The Wedding Planner," "A Walk to Remember," and "The Pacifier." The screenplay is written by Tina Gordon, Peter Hyuck, and Alex Greggory and, as mentioned, is a reimagining of the 2000 Mel Gibson-led "What Women Want." This story focuses on a sports agent named Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) who, after being passed over for a partnership position in her company, thinks it's because she is a woman working in a man's game. After making these thoughts known, she is told by her coworkers that she just doesn't understand men. That evening, she wishes she could get inside a man's head to know exactly what he's really thinking. After a visit from a psychic at a friend's bachelorette party and a bump on the head, she wakes up with the ability to read the thoughts of all men. Ali is freaked out at first but soon comes to understand that this ability will give her an advantage at work, and she will also gain the ability to see what the men around her really think about her.
What Men Want 2019 movie Erykah Badu
"I always used to say, "what is he thinking?" Now I know." (Image Source)
There is an old sketch from "The Chappelle Show" that joked how no one could ever make a movie called "What Men Want" because the answer would be too obvious. It implied that men were little more than sex-obsessed idiots, and the worry for us was that this remake would attempt to mimic its predecessor in the worst way possible by choosing the lowest jokes imaginable for 2 hours straight. Though it does dabble in that area from time to time, overall, "What Men Want" doesn't do it much and tries to offer an honest portrayal of the perception of what men think compared to what is actually going on in their heads. Ali discovers that her failure to reach partnership may not have been necessarily a malicious attack on her gender, but rather has more to do with her self-centered "me before all" approach to life. She has been so obsessed with trying to win her entire life that she forgets to remember that the way you play the game matters as well. Ali gets to progress as a person and comes to a better understanding of herself because for once, she understands others. Taraji P. Henson does a great job portraying her character's arc, and she has excellent comedic timing that allows her to create some humorous moments that made us laugh and chuckle and smile way more than we thought we would. Henson also has excellent chemistry and interactions with her assistant Brandon (Josh Brener) that may be quite cliche, but still brought the laughs. That being said, much like the original, at its core, this remake is still an entirely formulaic romantic comedy. Some of the comedy works, and some of it doesn't. The ending is also pretty cliche, but such is the case with many movies like this.
What Men Want 2019 movie Taraji P. Henson Tracy Morgan
"How am I supposed to fight a system that's rigged against me?" (Image Source)
In the end, "What Men Want" turned out to be a better movie than we expected. Though it was more than we hoped for, it's still only decent at best, but hell, we'll take "decent" over "atrocious" any day of the week. We really enjoyed seeing Taraji P. Henson in a role where she has been given the freedom to shine and where her talents have been put to good use, and we hope to see her do more comedies like this in the future.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: ~4.0/10
RT Rating: ~45%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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