What Men Want: What You Need To Know
Readers of a certain vintage may remember Nancy Meyers' 2000 comedy What Women Want, which starred Mel Gibson as a chauvinistic advertising executive who becomes surprisingly tuned in to the needs and desires of women after a head injury leaves him with the ability to hear the thoughts of the opposite sex.
Almost two decades later, in March this year, a new film based on the same idea made its way into cinemas, only this time the gender roles are quite literally reversed. In the 2019 version, the action centres around Ali Davis, a female sports agency executive struggling to get her dues in an industry dominated by men, until a freak accident gives her a little more insight into the male psyche than she had bargained for.
After appearing on cinema screens earlier this year, What Men Want makes its arrival in stores on Monday (July 22nd). Here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
Empire star Taraji P. Henson leads a cast which also includes Richard Roundtree, Erykah Badu, Silicon Valley's Josh Brener, The Comeback's Kellan Lutz and Straight Outta Compton star Aldis Hodge, as well as Saturday Night Live alumni Tracy Morgan and Pete Davidson.
And who's directing?
Adam Shankman is the man in the director's chair for this gender-reversed reboot. His previous directorial credits include Adam Sandler vehicle Bedtime Stories and the 2007 remake of John Waters classic Hairspray.
What's the plot?
Henson takes on the role of Ali, a successful sports agent working in a mostly male environment at an agency called Summit. Ali thinks she is on for a promotion and is expecting her boss, Nick (Brian Bosworth), to name her as the new partner. However, when she is passed over in favour of one of her male colleagues, Nick tells her that it is because she doesn't connect well with men.
Sick of being boxed out by her male colleagues, Ali tries to forget her troubles at a bachelorette party for one of her friends, who introduces her to a psychic named Sister (Erykah Badu). During a psychic reading, Sister gives Ali some special tea, which she explains is just jasmine tea laced with weed and peyote. Feeling the effects as the girls hit the club, a freak accident on the dancefloor causes Ali to hit her head on the bar, rendering her unconscious.
When Ali awakes in the hospital, she realises she is able to hear the male doctor's inner thoughts. While her assistant Brandon is driving her to the office, they both realise that Ali can hear his thoughts too. Freaked out, Ali gets out of the car and decides to walk the rest of the way, hearing the thoughts of all men around her as she goes.
Convinced that Sister's tea is the cause of her new found ability, Ali pays the psychic another visit to see if she can reverse the effects, but Sister not only explains that the tea isn't the cause, but also suggests that Ali could use her new ability to her advantage.
Does it deliver?
There has been a growing number of gender-flipped remakes in recent years from Ocean's 8 to Ghostbusters, and while the results have been a bit of a mixed bag, What Men Want is a good example of where reversing gender roles can really work. Henson's performance in the lead role and some sharply-observed gags by the writers all help to make this film tick and the end result is arguably much more fun than Nancy Meyers' original. Well worth a look if you've enjoyed Henson's sass in Empire, or if you're just looking for a feel-good flick with plenty of laughs.