Cast: Taraji P. Henson, Tracy Morgan, Aldis Hodge, Wendi McLendon-Covey
Director: Adam Shankman
Honestly did we really need a remake of What Women Want but with a gender swap? The first movie is mediocre enough on its own that at no point did anyone ever think, “we need to see this movie from the other side.” Granted it’s February and nobody really cares about movies that are released until about mid-March, so is there really any harm to having a movie like this come out? Sure Henson is fine in the lead role and a couple of the jokes hit their mark, but at the end of the day, this is the remake that nobody asked for, needed, or genuinely cared about including the people who made it.
The film follows Ali Davis (Henson), a no-nonsense sports agent who can’t get promoted to partner status at her agency due to her inability to connect with men. After hitting her head at bachelorette party, Ali discovers that she can read men’s thoughts and she plans on using this new gift to help her get ahead in the workplace. This film is exactly what you think it’s going to be from start to finish, which means those who were intended to enjoy it will enjoy it and for everyone else, well, at least it’s only 117 minutes. Henson is once again a standout like she is in just about any role she plays and is one of the main reason the jokes that do land actually land. Sure Morgan is a funny who guy who makes the most of his solid screentime, but when you give talented people a mediocre script, you end up with a movie that is more boring that it is funny. Can you really complain that much though, as we’re at a point of the year where nothing super impressive comes out, so it’s easier to get more emotionally invested in films that surprise us with how good they are versus films that just play it safe. I think the biggest issue the movie faces is just how superficial it is. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the first movie, but I seem to remember it being a little more deeper than surface level and there seemed to be some sort of typical moral at the end. While What Men Want has that message at the end, the path it takes to get there is one that is hard to identify with if you aren’t apart of the target demographic of this movie. When you make a spinoff that doesn’t feel incredibly inspired and wastes much of the star power that it’s provided, you end up with nothing more than a middle-of-the-road cup of who cares. Films like What Men Want really make me miss the winter months where we have a steady stream of high-quality movies coming out each week, but for what we ended up with, this could’ve been much worse. This movie is like taking a drive on I-95. You know where you’re going, you know how to get there, and there’s nothing really special going on along the way.
Overall, when you try to remake a movie that was wildly financially successful but slash the budget by almost 75%, you get a movie that feels those cuts and looks cheap. The first film was nothing to write home about, so there was no need for a second and this film will come and go like many others that come out around this time. I keep looking for my first quarter surprise of the year, and unfortunately What Men Want isn’t that. Maybe entertaining to those it’s targeted at and harmless to those who it isn’t, What Men Want is a pretty typical Valentine’s Day release and offers nothing more than surface-level comedy and situations.
Overall Score: 5/10