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Movie Reviews

What Women Want  

Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson)
Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt)
Lola (Marisa Tomei)
Gigi (Lauren Holly)
Dan (Alan Alda)

Directed by Nancy Meyers Written by Josh Goldsmith and Nancy Meyers
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language
Running Time: 110 minutes Distributed by Paramount

What Women Want
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What Women Want is a flat-out typical and vaguely situated Hollywood comedy. The main character of the film is Chicago advertiser Nick Marshall (Gibson). Nick is a cocky, egotistical, and a testosterone filled womanizer, that is looking forward to a new promotion in his ad firm. However, Nick is shocked when his arrogant boss (Alda) gives the position to a worthy woman named Darcy (Hunt). Nick’s boss replies that she will bring more of a “woman” feel to the company. While trying to get into the mindset of a woman by trying on lipstick, eye shadow, stockings and nail polish, Nick has a freak accident in his bathroom. The next morning, he awakes to discover that he has a new gift. He can hear what women think. Nick, unhandling at first, learns to use his gift to give women what they want and to impress his new boss Darcy. As time progresses, Nick gets in touch with his feminine side and wonders how long he will keep his gift.

What Women Want has some laughs in it and a completely original plot, but I didn’t really care too much for the film. I found it being full of overdone comedic clichés and humor that melts down its established originality.

Nancy Meyers directed and co-wrote the film with Josh Goldsmith. The first twenty minutes of the film have promise, but then the film begins to fall and can never pick itself back up. Though most of the character situations and relationships are predictable, the way each relationship evolves works well. An example is Nick’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old daughter. From the first encounter between the two, the audience knows that Nick was not a good father, but he begins to change throughout the film. I also found that the relationship between Nick and his daughter to be the best molding process of characters in this film. In relation to, I noticed a number of established characters mostly just disappearing throughout the movie. Examples are Nick’s ex-wife, Gigi (Holly), his best friend (Feuerstein), and a sweet coffee shop worker named Lola (Tomei). Like I said before, the story flutters away into a typical and cliché comedy. It is really unfortunate, because the story opened well and has good characters, but Meyers just didn’t capitalize or finish the job. Her direction is somewhat overdone in parts. One example is the longtivity of Nick slipping on bath beads before he has his sense changing accident. Also, the final scene of the film is a few minutes longer than it needed to be. However, I could sense that this director had a good time making this film.

Also having lots of fun making this film was its cast of actors. Mel Gibson takes a step back from his drama (The Patriot) and dark comedy (Payback) to just let loose with Nick Marshall. Gibson was a great choice for this role, which also shows the actor’s great flexibility. He does a respectable job of completing his character’s shift from masculinity to feminity. One of the best scenes in the film is when Nick watches Richard Simmons on television with a woman who was picked on for being overweight. Gibson just timely takes in the commercial then releases his sensitivity by crying. This scene mirrored a scene from Robert De Niro in Analyze This. Rebounding well is what the rest of the cast mostly does from their previous poor films this year. Helen Hunt (Dr. T and The Women), Mark Feuerstein (Woman on Top), Marisa Tomei (The Watcher), and Bette Midler (Drowning Mona) all contribute well as a supporting ensemble behind the likeable hysteria of Mel Gibson. Hunt, who should probably not be considered in a supporting role, holds steady with Gibson as his new boss Darcy. As for Feuerstein, Tomei and Midler, who are the real supporting characters, all turn in performances that will help get their careers back on the right track.

What Women Want has some good things in it, but I didn’t really care much for the film itself. Mel Gibson is very entertaining and I believe this film will be an audience pleaser. However, I wasn’t overall pleased with it.

Report Card Grade: C-

Beastman’s Movie Reviews
Copyright, 2000 Joseph C. Tucker

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