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What Women Want (2000)
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Review Date: December 13, 2000
Director: Nancy Meyers
Writer: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa
Producers: S. Cartsonis, B. Davey, G. Matthews, N. Myers
Actors:
Mel Gibson
Helen Hunt
Marisa Tomei
Plot:
A macho, rich, jerk suddenly gets the power to read women's minds and decides to use it to help him make his life better. He wants to better his job, better the relationship he has with his daughter and better the way that he treats the women in his life. Will it work? Will it fall apart? Will we be suffocated by the many cute "Mel" moments before being treated to an actual story? Find out below.
Critique:
See Mel Gibson dance around by himself to Sinatra tunes. Hear Mel do his best Sean Connery impression. See Mel walking around shirtless half the movie. Hear Mel sweet talk women and become a sensitive guy overnight. See Mel relate to his daughter over a loud montage featuring Christina Aguilera's "What A Girl Wants", as she tries on different prom dresses. Sigh. See women swoon as all of this takes place on the big screen. Hear men moan as they sit there next to their ladies. This one ain't for us, fellas. In fact, I wouldn't even recommend this to any women either, unless they were just looking for a fluffy ol' time. This movie has a great premise, and I mean a GREAT one! Here's a man who by some crazy fluke of an accident, can actually hear what women think. Wow. Isn't that a great way to start a movie? Yup, sure is. Unfortunately, the makers of this movie decided to concentrate more on the number of musical interludes that they would have in the film, rather than any actual story! Let's add another Sinatra number here, and another cool song from the soundtrack there, and wouldn't it be cool if we added a montage with another song playing as Mel moves from place to place here? Uuuuuhmm, I guess someone forget to tell the filmmakers that they were actually producing a movie...not a soundtrack!

Ugh, one of the most blatantly commercial movies to come down the pike in a long time. And by commercial, I mean a film so OBVIOUSLY created for a certain target audience. We've got the sad sack emotionally vulnerable character drifting in and out of the movie, for the sake of depth. Disposable secondary characters based on their obvious proclivity to the target audience (females 30-45). Remember who women chose as the most sensitive guy back in the old days? Alan Alda, that's right, he's in this movie! And what's any "chick flick" without Bette Midler. Oy vey, is right! I don't know, maybe I've seen too many of these types of movies in my day and the whole schtick is getting to be a little too see-through for me, but even without the obvious manipulative stuff going on behind the scenes, the story here is really quite underdeveloped. Mel gets this great power and does barely anything with it. He makes a few cute remarks to the ladies around his office, he uses it for obvious relationship reasons, he uses it to suck up to his daughter's friends...very flighty stuff.

And despite several cute and funny moments, especially the whole scene in bed with Marisa Tomei (tough shoot, hey Marisa?), the film just never really does much with its initial great concept. In fact, the wrap-up of Mel's newfound "power" is handled in an extremely clumsy way. Things just never seem to go under any type of surface in this movie, but if that's the kind of film that you're looking, then you might just enjoy this fluff piece. And no offense to Helen Hunt, whom I consider to be a solid actress, but am I the only one that's a bit Helen-ed out? That's four movies with her in the past six weeks! Phew. At least she had a "tan" in this one, despite the lack of color in her character's persona. This film is a study into the art of Nora Ephron romance movies gone awry!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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