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WHAT MEN WANT Review — You Would Think it Would be a No-Brainer

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What Men Want review — Even the ability to read men’s minds can’t help Taraji P. Henson make sense of this messy material.

What Men Want reviewTaraji P. Henson, as a take-no-prisoners sports agent, leaps on screen like a champ. At the beginning of What Men Want she packs so much punch you don’t know what hit you, and you get the feeling you’re in for a walloping new rom-com experience.

Unfortunately, director Adam Shankman can’t quite keep up with her, or the rest of the stellar cast (Tracy Morgan, Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Erykah Badu, to name a few), let alone the subject matter. The film quickly devolves into an uneven, underdeveloped, ungainly mishmash that contradicts its own premises.

And that’s a major disappointment, because Shankman, the man behind The Wedding Planner, the Step Up franchise, Hairspray and Rock of Ages usually has a firmer grip on his comedies.  They’re not flawless, but they’re mostly entertaining, take full advantage of their star power, and seem to make sense.

This film? Not so much. Riffing off  Nancy Meyers‘ hit romantic comedy What Women Want starring Mel Gibson and released in the year 2000, What Women Want puts the stiletto on the other foot. In an extremely awkward set up, Henson’s Ali finds herself with the power to read men’s minds, and attempts to use that power to achieve a partnership and a relationship in a world where a woman who calls the shots is at best an anomaly.

The premise has great potential, but very little of it is fulfilled as the plot pointlessly lurches about, regardless of Henson’s valiant efforts. In the end, (no spoilers here) Ali is rewarded for the same behavior for which her male counterparts are derided, and the conclusion comes out with such head spinning haste viewers are in danger of whiplash.

Rated R

1 Hour 57 Minutes

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What Men Want review — Even the ability to read men’s minds can’t help Taraji P. Henson make sense of this messy material.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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