What Women Want

Bomb Rating: 

Just for your information, I saw "The Family Man" prior to seeing this film. They're basically the same movie, and "The Family Man" is a colossal rip-off of "Me Myself I," so it's safe to say that when it comes to originality, one can easily imagine the screenwriters sitting next to each other at a presentation of "Making Your Story Seem Just Different Enough From Another That You Don't Get Sued 101." Unfortunately, "The Family Man" screenwriter apparently fell asleep or had to take a cell phone call during the important bits. Props to this screenwriter!

At least one thing wrong with "What Women Want" was that it reminded me of "Switch," where a chauvinist pig dies and returns to Earth in the body of Ellen Barkin. Honestly, how long would you spend masturbating in that situation? Naturally, none of that's in the movie, but that's another review for another time. In this film, Mel Gibson plays chauvinist pig Nick Marshall - an ad executive -- but instead of actually entering a woman's body, he gets to hear what women think so as to eventually sympathize with them and completely change his personality in matter of two hours' screen time, perhaps one week real time. I've had turkeys that didn't thaw that fast.

Nick gets a new boss, Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt) just before sprouting his new powers, and uses them to bring her down so he can take her job. Of course, he gradually starts to fall in love with her as this power allows him to better understand women. He becomes less of an ass and more like one of those eunuchs who watches Oprah and actually enjoys it. He has a daughter who hates him, but he grows to understand her and buys her a new prom dress and says she looks nice, which of course instantly rectifies a decade and a half of alienation.

Marisa Tomei has a small role as a coffee shop clerk who Nick sleeps with and then discards by telling her that he's gay. Every time I see Tomei on screen I can hear the stomachs of the Academy turn as they recall giving her the Oscar for "My Cousin Vinny." Now she's begging for small parts as easy coffee clerks. Delta Burke and Valerie Perrine play Nick's assistants -- a female version of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, which is the kind of role most actresses have to look forward to when they get older than 23. Amazingly, this film has a female director, Nancy ("The Parent Trap") Meyers, but no matter.

I once interviewed Nancy Meyers and asked her a question that I felt was slightly more sophisticated than the ones she had been getting. I think it involved the relationship between her movie and American culture. She just gaped at me like a huge penis had sprouted from my forehead and asked her to dance, which should tell you something about the complexity of a Nancy Meyers film.

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