“What Men Want” stars Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Josh Brener, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Tracy Morgan. Released on February 8, 2019, the film is about a woman who gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts.
The film is directed by Adam Shankman, who also directed films such as “The Wedding Planner”, “A Walk to Remember”, “Bedtime Stories”, and “Rock of Ages”. It is a remake of the 2000 film, “What Women Want”. There comes a time when we all wonder what other people are thinking about. Men usually wonder what was going on in women’s heads, but in this case, we’re focusing on what’s going on in men’s heads from a woman’s perspective. This remake offers a gender-swap twist to the “classic” romantic comedy from director Nancy Meyers which starred Mel Gibson. It is also Adam Shankman’s first attempt at helming an adult-rated comedy after directing several films that were aimed towards families and romance fans. I haven’t watched “What Women Want”, so like my other remake-centric reviews, I’ll be looking at it as its own film without comparing it to the original.
The main story in “What Men Want” is similar to “What Women Want”, but features a few differences to prevent it from being a complete rehash. So, if you’re one of the people who watched the original a bunch of times, then you’ll immediately get an unavoidable case of deja vu. As for those who haven’t, well, let’s just say that I don’t need psychic powers to know what they’ll think of it. This is the type of film that could’ve gone towards the disastrous route based on the concept, the humor, and Shankman’s filmography, but thanks to its sheer amount of luck, it turned out to be a hilarious and thoughtful comedy that adults can enjoy without the kids. You know, because they’ll be seeing a movie about LEGOs throughout the weekend. It’s not rocket science, people. Taraji P. Henson was once again entertaining and charming as Alison Davis, a sports agent who gained the ability to hear men’s thoughts (especially the dirty ones). Henson understood how to make her character click for her audience, but she’s also not afraid to show off her comedic side while doing it. Tracy Morgan was also impressive in his role as Joe Barry without the need to go over-the-top with his humor in order to gain some laughs. Speaking of which, did I already mention that the film was hilarious? If not, then I’ll just say it right now. The film was surprisingly hilarious. There were a couple of moments that were either messed up or idiotic, but they were able to affect my funny bone instead of making me (or everybody else) feel either uncomfortable or annoyed. Again, it could’ve wind up being a disaster in terms of how they represent the humor, but Shankman was able to effectively balance the laughs with the story that he wants to showcase. The plot does go through a similar structure that we’ve seen multiple times before, and it has a couple of scenes that messed up the pacing a little bit, especially the first half. However, the presence of Henson and the film’s sense of likability were able to prevent it from being a snooze-fest. It also represented a reflective message that I believe people should learn if they want to fully connect with other people.
Overall, in terms of the cast (particularly Henson), the humor, and Shankman’s direction, “What Men Want” is a gender-swap remake that connects well with audiences, no psychic powers required. Yes, it’s formulaic as heck and a bit overlong, but it’s also proof that a comedy can be enjoyable without relying on forced gags every five minutes or so. If you’re a fan of Taraji P. Henson or if you’re in a mood for some R-rated laughs, this film has got you covered.