There are three very important questions to ask when discussing this film. Who the hell asked for a gender-flipping remake of What Women Want? Who the hell thought this was a good idea? and Who the hell thought this film EVER needed to be 2 hours long?
What Men Want (2019) is exactly what the marketing describes, a gender-swapping remake of a mediocre Mel Gibson film starring Taraji P. Henson who is quickly becoming the new Miss January and that is not a good thing. Playing sports agent Alison Davis, Ali is sick and tired of being passed over for promotion by the Boys club agency she works for (despite not having a single major client). Ali is desperate to get inside the heads of men to better understand them for her own personal gain and that is exactly what she gets. She uses her newfound powers to not only sign the biggest free agency rookie basketball player (and his dad) but also uses them to boost her love life until her ambitions cost her everything.
Let’s get the positives out of the way. The film is funnier than expected, there are actually some good gags and genuine laughs to be had here. The goofiness of characters such as Erykah Badu and Tracy Morgan make for the most entertaining bits the movie has to offer. If I’m being honest, the relationship between Taraji P. Henson and her love interest Aldis Hodge is heartwarming and admirable to a point but that is where the positives end.
I swear to God, I tapped out about 10 minutes before the end because I couldn’t take it anymore. This film is WAY too long and it is the most poorly edited film I can remember in years. This was so bad I had to google Emma E. Hickox (the film’s editor) by name just to say what the hell? This isn’t a movie that has much going for it outside of its simple premise so why wear out your welcome with pointless scenes and gags that go nowhere. There are characters who don’t need to be in this film at all (i.e. Pete Davidson). If this film were in a marathon, it would have needed to be dragged across the finish line face first because it passed out before the final leg.
Another problem these films always run into is stereotypes. Everybody is a caricature of a stereotype. Ratchets, Homosexuals, Dude Bros, Christians, etc nothing is believable which would be fine if they were going for over the top from the very beginning but the film is trying to be realistic and relatable at the same time.
And I’m sorry but I had to point this out because this took me completely out of the film very early on. The movie is filmed in Atlanta, that isn’t a secret because that is where the film is based. However, watching the opening 10 minutes, there was something that caught my eye that I couldn’t ignore. While Taraji P. Henson and Brian Bosworth are having a conversation in his office, I couldn’t shake this overwhelming feeling of Déjà vu and when Henson begins to yell at her co-workers from the balcony it hit me…this is not only exact same building but the exact same office that was used in the film Tag (A WAY funnier Movie) just LAST YEAR. I even had to Google the locations to make sure that I wasn’t going crazy and lo and behold, Tag was also filmed in Atlanta. I challenge you to go back and watch the first 10 minutes of Tag and then watch the first 10 minutes of this film and tell me that it isn’t the EXACT SAME location.
What Men Want would have been a good film if it was 20-25 minutes shorter…it wasn’t.