Review – What Men Want (2019)

“That’s just Jasmine tea. If you don’t count the weed, and the peyote, and the crack.”
– Sister

Nearly 20 years ago, What Women Want was released, starring Mel Gibson as a womanizing, workaholic, absentee father who temporarily gains the ability to read the thoughts of every female he runs into – an ability he uses for personal gain before he realizes it is more useful as a way to see the error of his ways, which helps him become a better person altogether. Now, we naturally have the female version of the same basic thing, starring Taraji P. Henson in the title role. I consider myself a fan of the original film, so the real question comes down to if they can recreate the same amount of magic, heart, and fun the original had – and if they were able to make it more modern.

For the most part, I don’t think it was everything it could’ve been. I can appreciate the idea that a woman would naturally be the next to experience the phenomenon, but I’m not sure having Taraji as the title character was the right choice. I get that it’s more of a re-imagining or remake even, but I feel like the film would mean more to the fans of the original if the woman in question was Helen Hunt or even Mel Gibson’s daughter in the original – that way, it can be considered a sequel and spin-off at the same time. Another thing I wanted to see happen was modernizing the idea with gender fluidity – have her read the mind of a transgender man, too. That never happens, which is unfortunate.

Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a successful sports agent who’s constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. After a wild night out with her girls, she mysteriously gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts. With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar, but the lengths she has to go to will put her relationship with her best friends and new love interest to the test.

Dave Morales, FOX-TV

Auto-Generated Review

PEOPLE – 40% (8/20)

Acting – ★☆☆☆ | Characters – ★★☆☆ | Casting – ★☆☆☆ | Importance – ★★☆☆ | Chemistry – ★★☆☆

The acting in this film doesn’t impress. In fact, it does a quite a bit of the opposite. Most of the actors are average while one or two actors are extremely bad. Characters are fickle creatures, and one of the easiest things to find unmemorable. The characters in this film fit within the confines of what this movie is all about, but the characters themselves aren’t technically very memorable. A lot of times, this is because you’re watching the movie more for who’s playing the characters than who the characters actually are. Casting isn’t really a big focus in the film, so most of the cast is relatively fine. No one feels born to play their roles, and one or two cast members unfortunately just feel like the wrong choice entirely. A mid-range score for the importance typically signifies that the only people in the film that play to their own independent strengths are the main characters, which usually means one or two people. Rarely, it also means three. Everyone else in the film is unimportant and blend together. This is a film where chemistry is certainly not a priority. It neither distracts the audience, nor does it feel like any relationships are fantastic. They fit together enough for the story to work as it should, that’s it.

WRITING – 70% (7/10)

Dialogue – ★★ | Balanced – ★★ | Story Depth – ★☆ | Originality – ★☆ | Interesting – ★☆

Dialogue plays a big part in this film, whether it’s memorable or important to the plot. Dialogue often gets full points with musicals for obvious reasons, mysteries for the clues and riddles, movies with narrators – like film noirs, films with speeches, one-liners and quotes, and even movies that lack a lot of dialogue, like Cast Away. Something stands out (Mind-Reading). As for the balance of the film, it was certainly well-done. It never tries too hard to be the best. It’s simple, the characters have goals and motivations, there’s a balanced amount of locations, characters, and story lines, and you can easily tell someone what the movie is really about vs telling someone random things that happen in a movie. Perfect balance. Story-depth often gets half points when the bones of something meaningful is there, but it’s not a strong focus of the film. It’s just something subtle that helps the film mean something more than others. Could still be much better, though. When it comes to originality, this film feels like it has aspects shamelessly taken from other sources as well as clear originality, so it still has an element that feels fresh at the same time As far as being interesting, I was either interested enough to watch the movie and I lost interest while watching it, or; I wasn’t interested enough to watch it in the beginning, but it actually piqued my interest while watching.

BTS – 70% (7/10)

Visuals – ★☆ | Cinematography – ★☆ | Editing – ★☆ | Advertising – ★★ | Music & Sound – ★☆

I would say visuals were probably not a big focal point in the film. Nothing about the visuals stands out as good or bad. This film has standard camerawork that for the most part, anyone could do. Nothing stood out as good or bad. Just….typical. For the most part, nothing was impressive about the editing. It was neither good or bad. Pretty much anybody could pull off the same job with little effort. This film was exactly as advertised, nothing more to report here. The use of music and/or sound in this film is good enough to maintain the tone and feel of the flick but little else. You probably won’t be wasting your time by listening to its score.

NARRATIVE ARC – 90% (9/10)

Introduction – ★★ | Inciting Incident – ★★ | Obstacles – ★★ | Climax – ★☆ | Resolution – ★★

This movie did a great job introducing you to who the players are in the film, what’s going on, where everything is taking place, and the general tone of the film, so perfect points here. There are two things associated with the inciting incident, the incident itself as well as a crossing of the threshold moment where there is no going back. This film has both. Full points. There was a simple plot, with simple goals, all of which were met with plenty of obstacles stopping the characters from meeting their goals right away.While there is a climax, it’s mostly anticlimactic. There isn’t enough of a contrast with what’s been going on in the film to feel like a big ending. This movie contains both a calming down moment and a return to a new sense of norm found in a perfect resolution. Full points.

ENTERTAINMENT – 20% (2/10)

Rewatchability – ☆☆ | Fun Experience – ★☆ | Impulse to Buy or Own it – ☆☆ | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend it – ☆☆ | Riveting/Engaging – ★☆

I don’t really want to see it again. I will neither seek it out to see again, nor will I watch it if I stumble upon the film in the future. If a friend suggests a movie party and brings up this movie, I will say no. As far as having a good time while watching, I would say the movie has its moments, but not all the time. I didn’t like this movie, guys. No part of me was gearing to buy or own it. I won’t be purchasing the film, nor am I adding it to any wish list for my birthday or Christmas. It’s just not that kind of film. This film doesn’t really have many discussion points and I don’t see myself talking to others about, or even recommending it, really. This is when the movie is neither here or there. It has its moments where you feel like you can’t look away or can’t pause, but it also gets really boring and tedious too. So…take that as you will.

SPECIALTY – 62.5% (25/40)

  • Remake/Reimagining – ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
    • There’s not a lot you expect out of this film, but there is a couple of things. Firstly, as it is a reimagining, you want to see a whole new perspective, mostly…out of a woman’s mind. The problem here is that her character feels very much like it was written for a man. She acts like a man, she lives in a man’s world, etc. You don’t get that contrast that they could’ve easily done with a plot where a woman hear men’s thoughts.
  • What “Men Want” – ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
    • Another thing you want to know about this film is if it’s authentic in its message as to what men actually want. Here an there, I would say it’s accurate, but not fully. Let’s be honest…we all kind of have an idea of what goes through a man’s head, and I know this is a comedy, but it wasn’t fully believable. Even the original had heart enough to be bold and look into what women actually think about…this was just like…silly.
  • Comedy – ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
    • Obviously, it’s a comedy, so was it funny? I’ll be honest, it wasn’t very funny to me, but I am aware at comedy being a subjective genre. Even more than that, comedy is a culturally-specific genre sometimes, and I just wasn’t in the target audience here, so I didn’t see it as funny…but I suppose I could understand where others would disagree with that assessment.
  • Halfway Decent – ★★★★★★★★★★
    • Finally, did the makers of this movie ultimately make the film they intended to make from the get-go? Above anything else, I believe they made their vision a reality, no matter how much I may or may not like it. That alone deserves credit. Full points there.

TOTAL SCORE – 57%

(57/100 possible stars)

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