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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 Rob Gonsalves

"Mel Gibson at his comedic best (before he went all psycho)."
4 stars

Though it isn't quite Oscar material, Mel Gibson gives what may be the most entertaining big-star performance of its year in 'What Women Want.'

He's perfectly cast as Nick Marshall, who as a boy was raised in a Las Vegas casino, surrounded by glittering showgirls, and has very happily stayed frozen in that pre-feminist state. Now a suave ad executive and ladies' man, Nick has made a name as the go-to guy for babes-in-bikinis ads. Gibson enjoys himself to the hilt; his Nick lives in a constant mellow, self-satisfied vibe of heterosexual male privilege. He doesn't waste a thought on those who disapprove of him; they don't know what they're missing.

Of course, What Women Want is about how Nick gets his consciousness raised, but the surprise of the movie is that Gibson's performance only gets more satisfying, not duller as you might expect. Nick's male privilege is broken down piece by piece. He loses out on a coveted creative-director spot when the firm's boss (Alan Alda), noting that young women have more buying power than ever before, brings in top idea woman Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt). Darcy passes around various feminine products and asks everyone to devise ad campaigns for them, geared to women. Nick looks crumpled; he can't possibly relate to this chick stuff -- he stares at the nail polish and Biore strips as if they were Incan antiquities.

One drunken night, as much out of a scornful parodic tantrum as out of desperation for an idea, the hapless Nick tries all the products -- lipstick, panty hose, leg waxer -- and falls into a goofy accident that somehow allows him to hear women's thoughts. He hears lustful thoughts, banal thoughts, and, most painfully, honest thoughts -- he hears what the women at his office really think about him. Even his 15-year-old daughter (Ashley Johnson) doesn't cut him any slack, though there isn't much difference between her derisive thoughts about him and her derisive statements to him. For long stretches, Gibson plays Nick's awakening as agonized comedy; every woman's mental capsule review of him shoots an arrow into his swollen ego.

Not surprisingly, Nick soon learns to use his ability to his advantage, and when he "hears" Darcy's ideas for a Nike campaign, he steals them and passes it off as the uncanny synchronicity of two creative people on the same page. Nick and Darcy are also required by the plot to fall in love, the movie's least convincing aspect. Helen Hunt relaxes and breathes here (a relief after her Acting in Pay It Forward), but part of her strength as an actress is that she can show us what she's thinking -- she can do a lot with her eyebrows or a slight nod -- and when we hear what she's supposedly thinking, it doesn't live up to what Hunt can do silently.

Nick finds himself in situations he wouldn't have known how to handle before, and barely knows how to handle now, except that now he listens. It's as if there'd been nothing in his head (except his own pleasure) before women's thoughts took over the space. He deals with his daughter's budding sexuality; he deals with a smitten coffee-shop clerk (Marisa Tomei); he deals with an office messenger (Judy Greer) whose thoughts sound bitter and unhappy. The concept isn't wholly original (the most recent treatment was the controversial Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot"), but what is original is the effect that female consciousness has on a smug vulgarian like Nick Marshall, and on Mel Gibson.

Women may leave the theater wishing that men could be electrocuted into enlightenment more often; they may wish that about Gibson, too. The journey he makes here -- from a slick womanizer, to a bedevilled receptor of women's thoughts, to an opportunist capitalizing on those thoughts, and finally to a good man who's learned to intuit what women want simply by facing them -- brings out all of Gibson, all the shades of intelligence and stupidity, of deception and candor. It's a full package -- a full performance.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3906&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/11/07 07:34:45
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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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