15th Mar2019

‘What Men Want’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Kristen Ledlow, Josh Brener, Kellan Lutz, Mathias Alvarez, Chris Witaske, Max Greenfield, Paul Brian Johnson, Brian Bosworth, Kausar Mohammed, Richard Roundtree, Taj-Naranja Jenkines, Aldis Hodge, Auston Jon Moore, Devonta Freeman | Written by Tina Gordon, Peter Huyck, Alex Gregory | Directed by Adam Shankman


Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a successful sports agent who’s constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. When Ali is passed up for a well-deserved promotion, she questions what else she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world… until she 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 a potential new love interest (Aldis Hodge) to the test.

What Men Want, starring Taraji P. Henson and directed by Adam Shankman, is a gender-reversed remake of the 2000 Mel Gibson comedy hit What Women Want, which was directed by Nancy Meyers. Henson, as Ali Davis, finds herself with the magical ability to hear men’s inner thoughts after an adventurous night on the town. After being turned down for a partnership at work she begins to turn the tables on her male colleagues and prioritises the latest leading rising athlete for her own gain.

What Men Want is best described as “plain sailing” resulting in an often enough pleasant sufficient comedy that won’t defy the genre but doesn’t fall flat on its face in disaster either. It’s nothing more and nothing less of what you’d expect from such a deeply saturated and lacking genre of late from Hollywood. The comedy, of which I imagine is the biggest draw of a picture that doesn’t particularly boast an idealistic incentive for viewing, is well conveyed by lead actress Taraji P. Henson and supporting players Tracy Morgan and Wendi McLendon-Covey. All manage to on occasion successfully convey comedic prowess that while hit and miss is undoubtedly the highlight of the picture that just doesn’t do enough to impress or entertain.

It doesn’t particularly help that on top of the three previous writers credited on the original vehicle, the addition of four more writers can’t seem to inject any life or endearing threads in a film that fails to bring forth a compelling notion on the importance of family but fires away to the point of oblivion. It’s all far too bland and the writing of lead character Ali Davis is ever so unlikable and therefore incredibly distant and withdrawn from audiences’ hearts, as well as falling by the wayside with how on the nose the narrative is, that slowly but surely begins to drown any enjoyment out of an already uninspired fleeting picture.

What Men Want is in UK cinemas from today, March 15th.


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