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Overall Rating
3.08

Awesome: 10.63%
Worth A Look30.63%
Average: 26.88%
Pretty Bad: 20%
Total Crap: 11.88%

12 reviews, 88 user ratings


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What Women Want (2000)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Mel Gibson stares in a mirror and masturbates for 2 hours."
1 stars

Sex-symbol/international idol Mel Gibson seems to have just now realized that he's getting sorta old. What's an aging superstar to do? While some of his contemporaries combat nature through plastic surgery or trophy-wives, Mel is merely content to dedicate an entire film to how much he loves himself. Heck, I'm a big Mel Gibson fan, and even I couldn't stomach his latest movie, which is nothing more than a smug valentine from Mel Gibson...to Mel Gibson.

It's awful to see an actor you really like appear in such a terrible movie. With the matinee-idol looks and charm to spare, Mel Gibson is the textbook definition of a movie star. Women adore him, men admire him and every agent in the universe wants him as a client. Mel has earned his place in Hollywood, for his excellent acting skills, by offering an impressive body of work throughout his career and also for just basically being a heckuva nice guy. Having said all that, Mel's latest movie? It sucks.

If there were ever a movie that relied solely on its one-joke premise, it's What Women Want. This one joke, that a womanizing chauvanist can suddenly hear women's thought, is stretched interminably for nearly two hours, and the flimsy premise often threatens to snap like a piece of chewed-up bubble gum. Oh, and it's not at all funny.

What Women Want is perhaps the most blatant and obvious vanity project since Barry Levinson tripped on some acid and directed Toys. Particularly in the movie's yawn-inducing first act, it's pretty clear that Mel has the sole spotlight here. See Mel smirk. See Mel flirt. See every woman alive stare at Mel's ass. See Mel chuckle.

Most unforgivable is a scene in which Mel kicks it into 'rock-video' mode, as he dances like Gene Kelly with his cute little hat. I'm not saying Mel can't pull off a dance number. What I'm saying is that What Woman Want is not a musical, and therefore Mel's swaggering gyrations come off seeming kind of sad and desperate. Surely an actor of his stature no longer needs to be adored this much!

I could look past the obvious self-love inherent in this movie, if only it were actually a fun (forget well-made) movie! The most basic requirement of a comedy is simply this: make me laugh. If you've seen the commercial for What Women Want, then you've seen the best jokes. And if a film only has enough good jokes to fill a 90-second commercial, it's a safe bet that it's a crappy movie.

But What Women Want goes beyond just being an unfunny comedy. I find it truly amazing that a movie that is mainly about women is also so insulting to women! Once Mel gains his psychic powers, he's treated to a non-stop litany of thoughts that pretty much sound like this:

"Hey there, Sugar Buns!"

"Hey there, Blue Eyes!

"Did I leave the oven on?"

"Grr...If my boyfriend doesn't call...."

"Hey that hot guy looks like Mel Gibson!"

"Do these jeans make me look fat?"



And so on and so on. In the world of this movie, women are almost entirely one-dimensional. No wonder Mel has such an easy time figuring out what they want! All the female characters are painted in such broad (no pun intended) strokes, that none of them come off even remotely real. As egotistical advertising executive Nick Marshall, Mel doesn't even bother playing a role. He's just Mel. Period. In an effort to knock the art of screenwriting back about thirty years, here's the plot: Nick is expecting his biiiig promotion. His boss instead hires a woman (the ever-irritating Helen Hunt) and gives her the job Nick was expecting.

Then the gimmick kicks in. All of a sudden, Nick can hear what women think. Well, not ALL women. Only some. And he can't hear everything they think; he can only hear things that either A) advance the plot to the next ponderous scene or B) mention how handsome Mel Gibson is.

Since this whole 'Mel love-in' could only fill about 45 minutes tops, out comes the laundry list of subplots required to equal about 110 minutes. Nick has an unhappy (and rather unlovable) daughter that he must attend to. There's also an ex-wife (Lauren Holly, as the only interesting character in the movie and who also appears in only two scenes) to deal with, a coffee shop girl (Marisa Tomei, who reportedly won an Oscar back in the day) to have intercourse with, a secretary who deserves some attention...oh, and a suicidal file clerk who serves no purpose at all, except to let Mel play super-hero for at least one scene.

The supporting cast of women actors is as large as it is unentertaining. Bette Midler shows up for one scene as Nick's new therapist. I'm just wondering why you'd cast Bette Midler in a movie and have her do nothing funnier than lighting up a joint. It's a pointless cameo. Lauren Holly and Marisa Tomei do the best they can with the one-dimensional idiot roles they're given. Also on hand for absolutely no reason at all are Delta Burke and Valerie Perrine as Nick's fawning secretaries. Their characters serve no purpose whatsoever; nary a punch line escapes their lips. The big gun for the ladies is (again) Helen Hunt. I think perhaps that Helen has been a bit overworked lately (Pay It Forward, What Women Want and Cast Away), because every line out of her mouth (as well as in her head) seems simply phoned in.

While the unpleasant screenplay tries its hardest to win women over, the more aware moviegoer may notice a certain streak of sexism amidst all the phony moralizing. (Certainly the fate of Marisa Tomei's character is not meant to empower or flatter women!) While the women of Nick's world are shown as materialistic, catty or just plain dumb, the male characters can be defined in one syllable: MEL. Heck, it's obvious to me why Nick Marshall doesn't understand women, since he's a manipulative bastard to every woman he sees! But most men have at least some insight into the things women like to hear, and watching Nick learn his ridiculous lessons is similar to watching a grown man try to ride a tricycle. Basically, you pity him.

I'm apt to get a lot of hate-mail for bashing a movie that's so blatantly advertised as a Woman's Movie, but I call 'em like I see 'em, and I've recommended more than my share of 'chick flicks' in the past. You can call a movie anything you like ('Chick Flick', 'Guy Movie' or just plain old 'Porn'), but if the end result is ever as unpleasant as What Women Want, there's only one real label, and that's JUNK.

Much like Helen Hunt's absent-minded performance, this entire movie just reeks of laziness, as if the whole 'woman gimmick' (and the presence of Mel Gibson) was more than enough to warrant a feature film. My guess is that the limp direction offered by Nancy Myers (The Parent Trap) was simply overpowered by the sheer magnitude of Mel Gibson's 200-pound ego. The resulting movie is like watching 50 women watch Mel Gibson kiss himself for 2 hours.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3906&reviewer=128
originally posted: 12/16/00 17:49:37
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User Comments

4/06/13 CC I usually hate romcoms, but great performance from Mel & great review. 4 stars
4/02/11 Monday Morning No excuse for a 165-minute running time. Way excessive. 2 stars
9/14/08 Bill H I hated the musical montage the most. 1 stars
8/19/08 Shaun Wallner Never laughed so hard in my Life!! 5 stars
5/29/08 PAUL SHORTT WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS; MEN ARE FROM THE GUTTER - TYPE ATTITUDE 1 stars
2/09/08 Samantha P funny film, with great soundtrack! 4 stars
12/20/07 Wendell Maness Women are not too smart, easy to cheat on! 3 stars
7/11/07 Tiffany Losco funny, cute movie 5 stars
3/07/07 Stanley Thai A funny film and well-acted. 4 stars
7/11/06 srii romantic pretty funny moview 4 stars
7/11/06 David Cohen I refuse to believe women are as stupid as this movie portrays them 1 stars
5/24/06 ffffffffffffffffffff its romantic 4 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer Taking Mr. "Sexiest man alive" down a peg is as fun as Scwarzenegger's "JUNIOR" 2 stars
9/05/05 Katie It was great! I loved it! 5 stars
4/27/05 chandrakanth k s soft ramance which is soothing 4 stars
9/14/04 Jack Sommersby TV-style development of TV-ish story premise. Well-acted, though. 2 stars
8/08/04 indian boy awesome movie one of the greatest 5 stars
9/16/03 Fluffy Ears Henkelschmidt IV Worst acting and unfunniest film of the year 1 stars
7/31/03 omar "surfur" youssef Well-casted, well-written, and well-made. A hilarious must-see! One of Gibson's finest. 5 stars
7/24/03 Kit Pretty funny movie 4 stars
7/18/03 Chris A little to commercialize but still fun as a whole. Ranges from hillarious to mild but fun. 4 stars
4/09/03 JL I thought this was a cute, light hearted movie. 3 stars
2/26/03 GMan Aaaaah....Helen Hunt....I would fuck you.... 2 stars
1/22/03 Pinkline Jones An insult to the intelligence. Gibson is simply awful. 1 stars
12/04/02 Gazza E Really good. One of the better romantic comedies of recent years. 4 stars
10/23/02 Charles Tatum Cloying and cutesy 2 stars
7/05/02 KMG It was okay....not used to seeing Mel in anything but crime or period pieces 3 stars
6/07/02 stud good 4 stars
3/28/02 Sery I thought this movie was so cute. Helen Hunt is a great actress. Jake-the voices ARE real 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Entertaining and fun. Not profound...it wasn't meant to be. 4 stars
1/09/02 hilary awesome 5 stars
1/08/02 Mr. Hat Mel Gibson is cool. I love this movie. 5 stars
12/28/01 Jake Struck by lighting? Is that healthy? The women's voices were phony at times and annoying! 2 stars
10/02/01 Kirk Well, at least it was different. Seeing Mel in pantyhose was worth the price of admission! 4 stars
10/02/01 Andrew Carden Pretty Funny and Delightful Movie. 4 stars
9/28/01 Vanmarsenille Rohnny nice way to spend an evening 4 stars
8/28/01 Anastasiou Dimitris Give the money of your ticket to a homeless!!! 1 stars
7/29/01 Jennifer Gaissert Loved Mel dancing with the hat, but poorly written 3 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg Fit women .Crap movie . 2 stars
7/24/01 SJKelley Expectations land like a thud. MsAsh's review is ridiculous. 2 stars
7/23/01 D.R. Unresolved to me- ok "you're fired but I still love-please stay" Very good otherwise 4 stars
7/18/01 KMK no real laughs. waste of time 1 stars
7/17/01 Piz Predictable, flat, boring, no surprises, no chemistry, What were Gibson and Hunt thinking? 2 stars
6/30/01 martin this review sucks - it's a great film 5 stars
6/13/01 J Excellent Comedy but err..."not-so" excellent drama overall a good movie. 4 stars
6/12/01 Terrie Smith A couple of good moments; Gibson & Hunt lack charisma as a romantic team.. 3 stars
6/09/01 Turtle After the first, juicy hour, crap is sandwiched into the film, and the end doesn't save it. 3 stars
5/30/01 Thatguy Gibson's cool, for the first hour. The rest sucks. 2 stars
5/22/01 Monday Morning Chick flick for female Mel fans. Otherwise very unremarkable. 3 stars
5/14/01 Movie Freek Cute, but disposable. 3 stars
5/14/01 Babybelle well I loved it...nice cosy mel-ting chocolate movie 5 stars
5/09/01 The Bomb 69 fun entertainment 4 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye Who knew Mel could dance? Funny as hell to watch, if predictable. 4 stars
3/08/01 Ed Lewandowski Has its moments. Mainly boring. 3 stars
2/27/01 Matthew Bartley Echh..it was so-so 3 stars
2/20/01 voyant A few good moments, but mostly disappointing. Wait for the video. 3 stars
2/18/01 Avenger Girl Very predictable, but Mel and Helen play great roles. Worth the money to see it 4 stars
2/15/01 Michael Nicholls No...nobody wants it! 1 stars
2/10/01 Franny Streder It was so awesome. Mel Gibson is so hot. 5 stars
2/10/01 Cathy Poirier very good movie, sexy Mel 5 stars
2/09/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Thank god Mel Gibson can't read my mind...I'd be thinking very dirty thoughts. >=) 4 stars
1/23/01 Piz long AND predictable...what a combo! 2 stars
1/23/01 Christopher Ruggles This film was a great film to see. I would go and pay the 7 dollars to see it again.=-) 5 stars
1/21/01 Teresa Maloney I loved it! 4 stars
1/20/01 mazi mimir 1 stars
1/19/01 JRN516 very very good 4 stars
1/19/01 Nick Excellent 5 stars
1/16/01 Belinda Way too long. 2 stars
1/15/01 JRN516 I LIKE VERY FEW MOVIES. THIS ONE MAKDE ME FEEL GOOD THROUGH THE ENTIRE MOVIE 5 stars
1/03/01 Collegebrat19 This was a great movie I laughed the whole time. Mel Gibson gives an excellent performace. 5 stars
1/03/01 RAINBOW GREAT SHOW VERY FUNNY! DEFINATELY WORTH THE MONEY 5 stars
1/03/01 Zavon Too much crammed in to too short a space...there's a superior film trying to get out here. 3 stars
1/02/01 Hamburger the worst movie I've seen in a long time 1 stars
1/02/01 Jenny-My-Fur ok so we know helen and mel rock, but i am sorry this movie blew! 3 stars
1/01/01 Dario Better than what the critics say! 4 stars
12/30/00 Bassam So greet 4 stars
12/28/00 Sansnet Watkins I liked it; I thought the writing was pretty truthful and that Mel looked great 4 stars
12/28/00 Andrea The only funny parts were the ones already in the previews....it was dumb 1 stars
12/23/00 Monique A fantastic girly movie! 5 stars
12/21/00 orpy A few laughs, not believable but light entertainment 4 stars
12/20/00 poetcdh Good laughs, nice romantic comedy 4 stars
12/19/00 John Lyons Pretty good movie, Helen Hunt looked great! 4 stars
12/19/00 denise Great premise, poorly executed, should be titled "What stero-typical women want" 2 stars
12/18/00 fishie An Ok movie, a little thin in the storyline. Good one to wait and rent it. 4 stars
12/17/00 Angus moorehead Mel Gibson! What is the attraction? a mediocre actor, always been. 2 stars
12/16/00 Erik C. Thauvin God forbid us "men" would admit enjoying this movie. 4 stars
12/16/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Just came back from this flick. Oh my god, Mel looked better in, Man Without A Face. 1 stars
12/16/00 Louis THIS MOVIE SUCKS! 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  15-Dec-2000 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-Jan-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Jan-2001 (M)


Directed by
  Nancy Meyers

Written by
  Josh Goldsmith
  Kathy Yuspa

Cast
  Mel Gibson
  Helen Hunt
  Marisa Tomei
  Alan Alda
  Lauren Holly
  Bette Midler



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