Sun | Sep 27, 2020

‘What Men Want’ – truly terrible

Published:Monday | February 11, 2019 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy/ Gleaner Writer
Taraji P. Henson in a scene from ‘What Men Want’.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first truly terrible film of 2019. Typically, the conclusion of the review is at the end, but not today. There will be no preamble, no ­general introduction, just 400 words of ­warning against a waste of resources that disguises itself as a two-hour film. What Men Want is a remake of the 2000 Nancy Meyers film starring Mel Gibson and stars Taraji P. Henson as Ali, a no-nonsense sports agent who develops the ability to read the minds of men.

It’s not like this film couldn’t have been done well. In fact, throughout What Men Want, there are kernels of what could have been an ­impactful, yet entertaining picture. Ali’s ­ability is her ticket into the boys’ club of sports ­journalism. The film kicks off with Ali being passed over for a promotion she would’ve received were her gender reversed. There’s plenty of room for a comedy that takes a hard look at office sexism in 2019. What Men Want is a swing and a miss where that’s concerned.

Then, of course, there’s the romantic subplot. This is where the film is the strongest, largely due to the chemistry between Taraji P. Henson and Aldis Hodge, her love interest. Still, the film tends to fall under the same trappings of every romantic comedy – it’s almost to the point of parody. How many times must audiences suffer a couple that endure a conflict that would’ve been resolved by a single conversation, or even a Post-it note?

Throughout every­thing, the film is ­simply obnoxious. It leaves nothing to the ­imagination, and it has some of the worst jokes I’ve seen in a long time. It’s one thing to be a waste of potential, but it’s another thing to be a waste of film. What Men Want manages to be both. If you could read my mind whilst I was sitting in the audience, all you would hear would be an uninterrupted scream of agony as I waited for the film to reach the end of its unconscionable two-hour runtime.

Rating: Read A Book