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“What Men Want” (Movie Review)

What Men Want is predictable, easy, and is guaranteed to make you laugh, if you can embrace the flaws and look past the shallowness of the film as a whole. The film stars Taraji P. Henson who is an authentic hot mess as her character Ali, who is blessed with the power to hear men’s thoughts.

At first, Ali doesn’t want her newfound gift and tries to give it back to the psychic from whom Ali believes the power was bestowed from. Taking her trusted assistant (Silicon Valley’s Josh Brener) along for the ride, Ali soon embraces her gift and uses it to further her achievement in the one thing she loves most: work.

Chaos ensues as Ali makes messes and tries to clean them up, at one point even creating a fake family to close a business deal. It’s a good film for a lazy watch when you’ve binged The Office for the third time or The Bachelor doesn’t come on till 8 and you need a place holder. There’s nothing bad about What Men Want but there’s nothing great, either.

This film is another in the line of male-centric Hollywood favorites being remade to center on women. The Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt version from 2000 highlights many of the same struggles between men and women seen in this movie too.

But where Gibson got it wrong, front woman Taraji P. Henson gets it right, by creating a universe where women can have it all. This loose sequel is a little pathetic and raunchy which leads to a delightfully light predictable movie.

What Men Want is not the most well-rounded of movies and it does much to stereotype men, but overall this is a feel-good film that embraces the struggle, supports the hustle, and shines in some of the most relatable moments.

After a less-than-harmonious one-night stand, Ali is a whirlwind who is trying to make it to work and avoid her date’s young son in the process. This is meant to be a moment that is relatable and hilarious, but it comes across as hurried and irrational. Henson does her best to curb her over-dramatic Ali into a woman dedicated to her work, but it falls flat here. There are some moments in the film that rather than supporting women and men, they tear down both sexes.

Ali’s determination to win is admirable in some cases but is relentlessly difficult to watch in others. At one friend’s wedding, Ali uses her power to expose the dark secrets of her family, friends, and acquaintances in a move to fix everyone’s life. This action backfires and leaves a path of destruction that Ali has to clean up in the last 20 minutes of the film.

This is when the most inspiring moment of the film happens: Ali realizes that men and women just want to be heard and attempts to fix her broken relationships. It’s warm and fuzzy but there is a lack of depth at the end of the movie. That’s okay, though, because it’s not meant to be deep: it’s meant to be funny.

Catch What Men Want in theaters now.

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