Movie Review: What Men Want (2019)

Synopsis: Ali Davis is a successful sports agent but keeps getting passed over for promotion at her male-dominated firm. After she develops the ability to read men's minds, she uses her new gift to help recruit an up-and-coming basketball player but ultimately loses her best friends and her love interest.

Who's in it? The movie stars Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Josh Brener, Erykah Badu and Tracy Morgan.

Review: When my wife picked up this film at our library, I had some doubts about it. The premise was basically identical to the 2000 film What Women Want (other than a gender switch) and, while that movie wasn't one of my favorites, I did wonder if this film would end up being worse. As it turns out, I liked the movie more than expected but do think the Mel Gibson version was better.

The movie does have some very funny moments. I especially liked the chaotic wedding scene and when Ali (Hensen) discovers her handsome neighbor's unexpected secret. At the same time, it manages to tone things down during the more serious moments, something that a lot of comedies forget to do.

I also liked the mystery surrounding her new gift. At first, it seemed like it was the result of her interaction with a psychic (Badu) but, as the film progressed, that became less clear and, as a result of that, it made the ending a little less predictable because it wasn't easy to figure out how, or if, she would lose that ability.

I think my biggest problem with this movie was Ali was just a little too likable. The protagonist in the Mel Gibson movie was an unlikable womanizer and that made his eventual transition a lot more noticeable. Ali, in comparison, was a little self-centered but most of her antics could legitimately be chalked up to her being discriminated against because of her gender. And, frankly, I really couldn't see any significant change in her by the very end as a result of that.

Gibson's version of the movie also had everything from a suicidal employee to a daughter who was contemplating losing her virginity. That might not seem like a big deal but it definitely had more impact than an assistant (Brener) who was thinking about quitting because he wasn't getting a promotion.

Final Opinion: It's an OK movie that did have some funny moments but fell a bit short of being at least as good as the almost identical movie that was made 19 years earlier.

My Grade: B-


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