What Women Want (2000)
Mel Gibson plays a sexist advertising executive who is overlooked for a certain promotion when his boss (Alan Alda) instead chooses to recruit the talented Darcy McGuire (Helen Hunt) from a competing firm – to increase the company's appeal to women. Determined to outwear his new superior, our protagonist suddenly finds himself with the surprising advantage of being able to hear what women think after an incredible home accident.
Gibson gets to demonstrate his comedic talent in much the same way he did in Maverick (1994) in this self-examining role as a male chauvinist who must get in touch with his feminine side. As directed by Nancy Meyers, the film becomes equal parts silly and fascinating – the latter thanks to the funny concept and well-conceived (albeit predictable) characters. The role of Nick Marshall is perfect for Gibson, and vice versa, and he gives the character heart and a little soul, even if the character's development is largely based on stereotypes. What Women Want is not by any means a subtle piece, and Meyers never passes on the opportunity to lay it on thick and go overboard with sentimentality. This only really becomes a problem in the film's final part when the rather futile romance between Gibson and Hunt is supposed to replace the comedy as the film's focal point.
That's all forgivable, however, since we've already had our fun during the first part when Gibson with great enthusiasm gets to terms with his new "talent", demonstrated through a series of cleverly written and funny scenes. There's also warmth in the relationship between Gibson and Ashley Johnson as his teenage daughter, even though the film tends to come off as moralizing every time it tries to be deep and truthful – which is no less than expected from an American film in this genre.
Re-reviewed: Copyright © 5.2.2018 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright © 17.11.2003 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang