What Men Want

In Cinemas Now

She can hear men's thoughts. Now that's a party.

Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) can hear men's thoughts in this fantasy rom-com from the writer of The Intern and It's Complicated.

When Olivia is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, she gains an unexpected edge when she develops the ability to hear what they're thinking. We can hear what you're thinking, and yes, this is a gender-swapped remake of the Mel Gibson-starring What Women Want.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

117mins

Rating: R16 Sexual references, drug references & offensive language

USA

It doesn’t make any sense to remake a Nancy Meyers film without Nancy Meyers, but that’s what director Adam Shankman (Step Up, The Wedding Planner) decided to do, I guess. What Men Want is the gender-flipped remake of 2000’s What Women Want, featuring comic genius Taraji P. Henson in the lead as Ali Davis, a sports agent continually sidelined by her male coworkers.

When a tarot reading from a psychic played by the superb Erykah Badu turns bizarre, Ali develops the ability to hear what men are thinking. At first, she’s horrified, and rightly so—most men’s inner thoughts aren’t exactly soothing. But when she realises she can use this gift to get ahead at work, she’s intrigued.

Taraji P. Henson is as bright as ever and Aldis Hodge is excellent as Ali’s sensitive romantic interest. While not totally fitting, Tracy Morgan’s turn as a greedy, overprotective father to an emerging basketball star is amusing; the film’s standout moment is Morgan’s stellar speech dictating the preparation of his son’s daily smoothies.

Like Second Act a few months back, What Men Want feels stuck in the 2000s due to dull direction and rote plot devices. As a work of cinema, this film isn’t particularly groundbreaking and if it weren’t for the few fun performances, What Men Want would be pretty forgettable.

Where Mel Gibson sells the whole sleazy chauvinist thing, Taraji P. Henson is never believably awful. She’s selfish, sure, but no more than any of the men working in her office. And the thoughts she overhears from the men around her are no worse than what is said out loud, often straight to her face. Equating a woman trying to make it in a man’s world to a shitty misogynist trying to outsmart women at what they know best is a false equivalence. The film’s premise just doesn’t hold up.

Los Angeles Times

press

Henson is a gifted actress and physical comedian. She manages to hold together "What Men Want" with the sheer force of her powerful charisma, but the film around her is harried, messy and woefully underwritten.

Rolling Stone

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Taraji P. Henson comes out swinging in this female-centric update of the 2000 Mel Gibson rom-com 'What Women Want,' but the cliché-ridden film can't go the distance

Associated Press

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The script is uneven and heavy, with some of the only jokes coming from Badu and a few movie references to "Black Panther" and "Get Out."

New York Times

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The movie covers all its bases, determined to give every segment of the audience what it wants, with dubious success.

Hollywood Reporter

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Henson evinces a tremendously humorous, and human, capacity for grasping Ali's personal desperation and professional determination as she forges them into a semi-coherent strategy for success.

Variety (USA)

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The script of "What Men Want," by Tina Gordon, Peter Hyuck, and Alex Gregory, is a hodgepodge that always feels like it's scrambling to cover enough quadrants.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

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What Men Want is an idea wasted and an opportunity rejected.