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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > What Women Want

MOVIE REVIEWS

WHAT WOMEN WANT (2000)

Starring Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Mark Feuerstein, Lauren Holly, Alan Alda, Ashley Johnson, Delta Burke, Valerie Perrine, Judy Greer, Ana Gasteyer, Lisa Edelstein, Loretta Devine, Richard Simmons, Brooke Elliott and Bette Midler.

Screenplay by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa.

Directed by Nancy Meyers.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures.  126 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

What Women Want

What Women Want is the very much the definition of the term "chick film." It is as light as a feather -- not a big surprise coming from director Nancy Meyers, who is responsible for cinematic soufflés like Father of the Bride and The Parent Trap.  It has no real great meaning or revelations, but for the most part it is charming and enjoyable. 

It actually hinges on a truly terrific gimmick, Nick Marshall is a tough, driven, chauvinistic ad man (and of course, being a chick film, he looks like Mel Gibson) who suddenly gains the power to hear women’s thoughts.  Of course, he uses the ability to seduce women and take advantage of them in business.  This is interesting and funny... and even rather touching in a situation where he dates a wonderful, but under-used Marisa Tomei.  

Nick’s world comes unhinged when he gets a new boss who is a woman.  Nick determines to use his skill to sabotage her career and boost his own at the same time.  Helen Hunt is fine… and terrifically average… as this everyday businesswoman who gets Gibson to fall in love with her and give up his rakish ways.  (Hunt should play an every-woman, because it seems she is in every film they make these days…)  

In the long run, though, the film puts its audience and its premise ahead of its central character.  As much as the woman writing What Women Want (and the women watching it) would like to believe that a sexist like Nick will get a higher respect for women by reading their thoughts, he would undoubtedly instead just continue to use this ability to seduce and dominate them.  This seems particularly true since an inordinate amount of these women seem to be thinking about his butt.  

By the time Gibson is growing as a man and trying to relate with women by doing stuff like waxing the hair on his legs, the film has swerved irretrievably into fantasy.  A fairly likable fantasy perhaps, but a fantasy nonetheless. (11/00)

Dave Strohler

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