“What Men Want” Review
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Review by: Livi Edmonson
“My self-worth is not going to come from a man’s approval.”
This piece of dialogue is from Taraji P. Henson’s character, Ali Davis, in her latest rom-com, “What Men Want.” Though the film will be taken frivolously, for it obviously will not win any Oscars with its rotten score of 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the quote proves something even more rewarding than a golden statue. It proves that women can lead a Rom-Com and end up not settling for a man’s expectations by the film’s conclusion.
So often we see female actresses in these boss-lady leading roles, but they always end the same, with the women settling for something or someone.
“What Men Want” not only showcases Henson’s character as an independent, successful leading lady but also as someone who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants and not what someone else wants for her. This is the romantic comedy we should see more of these days. Props to the writer on this one (because she’s most definitely a woman).
Based off of remodeled ideas from 2000’s misogynistic “What Women Want” starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, the plot follows sports agent, Ali, who is always overlooked by her male co-workers and boss in the workplace. The men blame her loss of the promotion on her misunderstanding of men. After drinking a strange tea that a psychic gives her at her best friend’s bachelorette party, Ali wakes up the next morning to the sound of the inner thoughts of every man around her. What Ali soon finds out is that this new power of hers is both a blessing and a curse. While making an even bigger name for herself in the office and as a sports agent trying to snag the next basketball superstar, Ali begins to recognize her self-worth and realizes that she doesn’t need to know men’s thoughts to determine her own value, as mentioned earlier. What follows is a laugh-out-loud flick that has heartfelt moments of romance and drama as well.
Anyone who is a fan of Academy Award nominee Taraji P. Henson should stop what they are doing right now and race to the theater. Fans, and really any audience member in general, will find her performance in “What Men Want” to be charming, hysterical and flat-out dynamic. But did we really expect anything less from Ms. Henson? Over the years, audiences and critics have seen the actress play some of the most daring, emotionally-compelling characters such as Cookie from the television show “Empire” (2015-2018), which won her a Golden Globe and even real-life hero, Katherine Johnson, in 2016’s Oscar-nominated “Hidden Figures.” And the one thing we haven’t seen her in until now? Comedy — and she kills it, too.
The majority of the reviews given to “What Men Want” thus far amaze me by how inaccurately judged this film is. Yeah, the plot is predictable and many of the “girl hits her head and wakes up with a new mindset” films have been done before, like last year’s “I Feel Pretty” starring Amy Schumer, and even the upcoming “Isn’t it Romantic?” film led by Rebel Wilson hitting theaters this weekend. But what “What Men Want” brings to the table is not originality, but instead authenticity. Unlike the Mel Gibson version of the film it is loosely based off of, this film portrays people and a lifestyle that feels real and relatable to social and gender norms today.
All in all, “What Men Want” is the perfect, R-rated comedy that you must see this weekend, especially if you are a girl. No Valentine’s date? No worries, Taraji P. Henson has you covered and will teach you a few self-worth lessons this holiday season. But if you have a Valentine, that’s cool too- you will both enjoy it, I’m sure. I give it an 8.5 to 10!