What Women Want

To prepare you for “What Men Want,” here’s my review of the original.

I know for a fact that the mind is a complicated thing, and some of us wish we had telekinesis. “What Women Want” is a movie made for men who need to know what really makes women tick, and for women who deserve better. Director Nancy Meyers ties both opposite sexes together, and gives us a sweet-hearted romantic comedy.

Mel Gibson stars as a successful but chauvinist ad executive named Nick Marshall, who constantly hits on a coffee shop employee (Marisa Tomei), has an estranged daughter (Ashley Johnson), and thinks he’s gonna be promoted as creative director. His boss (Alan Alda) tells him that position has to go to a woman he just hired, Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt). After being told to come up with a brand for a package of women’s cosmetics, he ends up in a bathtub/hairdryer accident, and wakes up hearing women’s thoughts.

Nick thinks it’s a curse because of how he hears negative thoughts from his co-workers, but his therapist (Bette Midler) suggests he embraces that gift to know what women really want. Meanwhile, as he and Darcy start to develop an ad for Nike, they hit it off. And he tries to rekindle with his daughter, especially since she has an older boyfriend (Eric Balfour).

‘What Women Want” has its heart in the right place by changing a man’s perspectives of women by giving him telekinesis. It’s a fantasy that breaks form, and keeps you interested. Gibson and Hunt have chemistry, thanks to his dialogue and manliness, and to her charms and skills.

And you also get some fine supporting work from Johnson as the daughter, and Judy Greer as a young suicidal secretary. They have their issues, and the movie is very sympathetic about all feminine sides.

As a fan, I also love how the Frank Sinatra classic hits keep things rolling along. It uses the music to stylize the romance and the charisma. There’s even a scene when Gibson dances with a hat rack, in the style of Sinatra. If you hear his music in a romantic comedy, you can tell you’re interested.

It might get a little awkward in parts of the first half, mostly when Gibson finds out about his new ability, but the rest of the movie proves how sweet and lovable it is. Credit goes to director Nancy Meyers and writers Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake for crafting a heartwarming comedy.

⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

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