Every single thing wrong with Mel Gibson rom-com What Women Want
Amanda Jane RobinsonFeatures | 11 February 19
Sitting down to watch What Women Want for the first time, I was wary. I’ve always loved rom-coms, but Mel Gibson is not a cool guy. As far as the man’s filmography, I’d only ever seen Ransom and half of one of the Lethal Weapon movies. Directed by Nancy Meyers in 2000, What Women Want follows Nick Marshall (Gibson), an ad agency executive passed over for a promotion in favour of Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt), who was hired to land the “women’s market”. When Nick is electrocuted in a bath bead accident, he gains the capacity to hear what women are thinking, and he uses it for everything you expect him to use it for.
All in all, the film was far more self-aware than I had expected, and I ended up mostly enjoying it. Obviously, it’s an outdated concept, and healthy communication should be prioritised over electrocution-induced mind-reading abilities, but I do truly believe a movie can be both dumb and good, and that’s what this was. Plus, spoiler alert, ending the film with Darcy firing Nick was delightful retribution.
That being said, the movie was like bingo for shitty chauvinism. Here, I attempt to list every single fucking thing wrong with What Women Want.
1. That Nick’s mother having sugar daddies ruined women for Nick
2. That Nick being raised by showgirls would turn him into a chauvinist pig instead of like, a man who sees women as people. The film tries to fault his mum for surrounding Nick with shitty male customers as a kid when she equally surrounded him with cool, hot, smart, talented showgirls. I feel like that kid would have been so different as an adult than what the film suggests! There’s a great film in a kid growing up backstage, being raised by showgirls.
3. That all of these hot fashionable showgirls would have let kid Nick wear a fedora
4. That any lipstick is long-lasting enough to stay in perfect formation, without smearing, on Mel Gibson’s cheek after being slept on all night
5. Nick spanking his maid’s ass
6. Nick touching his barista
7. That any woman would fall for Nick’s shit
8. Nick telling a woman not to eat a pastry and her bashful, appreciative smile
9. “You know what’s the difference between a wife and a job? After 10 years, a job still sucks”
10. Mark Feuerstein’s entire character
11. Mark Feuerstein’s character mocking jerking off in a meeting where his new female boss is introduced
12. That somehow Nick can’t manage to figure out lipstick, despite having grown up in a showgirls dressing room
13. That any woman would earnestly want to own bath beads
14. That Mel Gibson could have painted his own toenails so neatly on his first try
15. That any woman would be attracted to Mel Gibson, specifically that any woman would think he had a “fine ass”
16. Nick’s mind-reading abilities extending to female poodles
17. Relegating Marisa Tomei, Sarah Paulson, Judy Greer, and Bette Midler to minor supporting roles
18. That the assistants at one of the biggest advertising agencies in Chicago would be ditzy airheads
19. The “whoosh” sound effect when Nick kicks his daughter’s bra towards her after finding her making out with her boyfriend
20. That whole “overprotective of my teenage daughter’s sexuality” schtick
21. Nick talking out loud to himself as a method of communicating already painfully obvious exposition
22. Using deaf women communicating in sign language as a punchline
23. That anyone as hot and horny as Marisa Tomei’s character wouldn’t have had sex in six months
24. That anyone as hot as Marisa Tomei would find Mel Gibson in a leather jacket and dark sunglasses indoors, hot
25. The inference that men being able to read women’s minds is the answer as opposed to like, healthy communication
26. All the times Nick uses his ability to manipulate someone into finding him attractive
27. All the times Nick uses his ability to steal Darcy’s ideas and put them forward as his own
28. Mel Gibson putting his coat on like he’s a matador
29. Mel Gibson looking up a mannequin’s skirt while his daughter tries on prom dresses
30. Nick’s opinions on his daughter’s prom dress, see #21
31. “Girls want guys to like them and hang out with them and most guys just want to have sex”
32. Taking someone on a first date to a bar called ‘The Back Door’
33. The idea that Helen Hunt is somehow anywhere within Mel Gibson’s league
34. So much Madonna-whore shit
35. Nick using his abilities to give Marisa Tomei’s character the best sex of her life and then not calling her for a week
36. Depicting Marisa Tomei’s character as crazy for finding it frustrating that Nick didn’t call her for a week after the best sex of her life
37. That Nick’s newfound sensitivity toward women means he must be gay
38. Nick’s whole “Women, did you know you don’t have to wear makeup?” thing
39. Holding hands pre-fucking
40. The decision to locate suicidal Judy Greer’s apartment in a Chinatown alleyway
41. The wise mute elderly Asian woman who guides Nick to Judy Greer’s rescue
42. That he couldn’t hear what this wise mute elderly Asian woman was thinking; logically, either she was magically resistant to his powers or he could only hear thoughts in English and whatever language poodles think in
43. Nick bangs his fist on Judy Greer’s apartment door and it doesn’t budge but her cat can push it open
44. Nick turns up to his daughter’s prom in a trench coat and goes into the girls bathroom and nobody tries to stop that from happening
45. Nick telling his daughter “I know what it’s like to be a woman” after hearing women’s thoughts for no more than like, 3 days? After waxing one strip of hair off one leg? After laddering one pair of tights? He wouldn’t last an hour!
46. Anti-tongue ring propaganda
47. That Nick’s daughter had friends at the beginning of the movie but they’re not there to comfort her when her boyfriend is being an asshole on prom night
48. That Darcy would still have a bra, pants, and brogues on in her own house at 1am when she wasn’t expecting visitors
49. Darcy being flattered by Nick saying she “dazzles” him
50. Anyone saying “the man I love” pre-fucking
51. The idea that Mel Gibson knows anything any woman would ever want
Plus one of Flicks’ fave gems of 2018.
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