I vividly remember What Women Want (2000) – it was a high-concept comedy with a memorable turn by Mel Gibson and a whole lot of laughs. Seeing as that film was a huge success, it’s little surprise that good ol’ Hollywood has churned out a 2019 remake with a gender flip. But is it as good as the original?
Not quite, but What Men Want is certainly a fun time at the movies. Obviously Taraji P. Henson makes the film. Her performance is delightful, and while she undoubtedly overacts at times, she possesses so much charisma that you can’t help but fall for her character. She’s also a gifted physical comedian- 100% committed to the film’s whacky premise (her character gains the ability to hear men’s thoughts and hijinks ensure). There’s a fair amount of amusing set pieces and gags, and a hilarious supporting turn by Erykah Badu as the psychic who gives Alison her powers. Sadly she doesn’t get nearly as much screen-time as Tracy Morgan who is saddled with the most irritating character of all time.
What Men Want also climaxes in really predictable fashion. The drama in the final stretch is painfully contrived, and far from authentic. It literally feels like the script needed some last-minute drama, and couldn’t cook up anything else (I won’t spoil it here but trust me, it’s no surprise).
A somewhat flawed remake that’s saved by Taraji’s dynamic performance and some good laughs.