What Women Want

For a romantic comedy, What Women Want is not that funny. It has its moments, but most are not memorable, and not that funny. It has a promising premise - a man gains the ability to hear women's thoughts. This man, Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson, The Patriot, Chicken Run) is every woman's nightmare. He works for an advertising agency where he creates Swedish Bikini-like advertisements for his agents. He is rude to women, chauvinistic, and an all-around pig. He realizes this once he begins to hear the thoughts of women around him. One woman, Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt, Cast Away, Pay It Forward) particularly intrigues him.

Maguire is a rival agent from a different firm, and Marshall feels he lost a promotion to her. He immediately begins working with her, literally taking her thoughts out of her head before she can vocalize them. The two work well together, and Marshall has special insights into her mind because of his 'gift.' The major subplot revolves around Marshall and his estranged daughter Alex (Ashley Johnson, Anywhere But Here, Dancer, Texas). She is staying with him for two weeks, and he has no idea how to relate to her. His ability to read women's thoughts is the catalyst that begins to change his character. By reading the minds of women, he can see what they actually think about him, and this disturbs him. Before, he was living in his own little world where the universe revolved around him, now he must face that he really is nobody.

It is no secret that this gift if the denouement that eventually changes Marshall. The story by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake is shallow, but in a nice way. This is not meant to be a deep movie, but a nice romantic diversion. Director Nancy Meyers (The Parent Trap, Father of the Bride Part II) is garnering a reputation for making female-centered movies that actually appeal to women. The dialogue here is snappy and amusing, reflecting a battle of wills between two equals. The issue here is the character of Marshall. Yes, he does eventually change, but it takes a long time. Along the way, he still is pretty much a jerk. He still treats women very badly, and the entire time he is working with Maguire, he is trying to undercut her by stealing her ideas. Still, Gibson and Hunt have good chemistry together, and it's a back and forth between hating Marshall and rooting for him to change.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
2 hours, 7 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language.

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