I always been a fan of the 2000 film What Women Want, so I was very excited when I first saw the trailer for this. I thought a gender swapping remake starring Taraji P Henson had a lot of potential to work, and I was right. The formula of What Men Want works well, it achieves exactly what it sets out to achieve. A bit predictable? Sure, the overall story arc is pretty predictable, but who cares? The point is that you will be thoroughly entertained by this film and are sure to have a smile on your face by the time the credits roll.
We open focusing on Henson’s character, Ali Davis, a successful dedicated sports agent who’s hoping to become partner. But when it’s announced that she was passed up for a less experienced man and asks how this happened, her boss tells her that she “doesn’t connect well with men”. This, of course enrages her. She goes to her best friends bachelorette party, where they’ve invited a psychic for a fun treat. After Ali has a session with this psychic and goes through a night of hard partying (which includes experiencing a hard knock on the head), she wakes up in an emergency room and discovers she can hear men’s thoughts.
There are so many great positives that shine clearly as you watch. The biggest plus this film has is the phenomenal casting. Henson is fabulous as Ali, she has this great charisma and energy about her, making it almost impossible not to like. Josh Brener is perfect as Ali’s assistant Brandon; he brings a fresh endearing presence. The chemistry between the two of them is great too. Max Greenfield is really good here too. Even though his role isn’t huge but he makes good use out of what he’s given. Wendi McLendon-Covey is the standout amongst Ali’s girlfriends, bringing awesome comedic timing to her hilarious dialogue. Pete Davidson is put to good use, and something very cool and unexpected is done with his character. Aldis Hodge is another one that really does a great job, he plays Ali’s romantic interest. That is another character she has good chemistry with. And lastly, Erykah Badu is good as Sister.
The writing is another plus, it’s very funny and only rarely do the jokes overstay their welcome. The comedic dialogue just works, I spent much of the film laughing out loud. Not only does the humor work 90% of the time, but so does the drama. Yes, the dramatic aspect is like other films formula wise, but it still resonates nonetheless. Ali is just a great lead character to follow, that’s all thanks to Henson who’s just undeniably entertaining.
Another plus is the diversity represented, it really does uplift the film. Not only is it awesome and necessary to represent different communities, but it also makes the film both more entertaining and interesting. We get different types of characters to focus on, shakes things up.
One of the things that doesn’t work is Tracey Morgan. Morgan tries but he just seems awkward and I would’ve preferred someone else in that role. I never thought he was funny and he was the only part of this that I was not looking forward to. The other thing is that a few of the gags do run a bit long and it’s very like ok let’s get on with it, and wouldn’t ya know it…. every joke that does that is by Morgan’s character. It’s really a double whammy, since Morgan has an awkward unfunny presence and his dialogue is equally unfunny. All the other cast members do well though and have comedic dialogue that lands. Luckily Morgan doesn’t have a large role and the ones that are actually good overshadow him.
What Men Want is a solid gender swapping remake comedy. It achieves exactly what it sets out to achieve and will have you beaming in your seat. I had such a good time with this film and I bet you will too!
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