CRITIC DOCTOR EXAMINES: Chris Gore (filmthreat.com), Susannah Breslin (roughcut.com), Elizabeth Weitzman (film.com), Eric Lurio (Greenwich Village Gazette), Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times), Elvis Mitchell (New York Times), Rob Blackwelder (splicedonline.com), Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) and Susan Stark (Detroit News).
* * * * out of 4 stars (PG-13)
The moment I heard there was going to be a movie about a man who could read women’s minds, I knew we were in for something special. Despite what most critics said, this was one fun movie!
“What Women Want” brings us Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) and he is the epitome of a male chauvinist. He’s a rich Chicago advertising executive who one day obtains the power to read the minds of women – making for some very humorous and interesting situations.
Chris Gore (filmthreat.com) said, “Women are going to love it as the film validates much of their negative perceptions about ‘guys.’ Heck, I started to loathe and despise all men on the planet and I am one!” (Read Gore’s review of “What Women Want” for yourself.)
Stop already with the self-hate stuff, Chris! We’re not that bad. You simply didn’t see that the film poked fun at BOTH men and women – a brilliant satire comedy targeting both sexes. Some critics thought this hurt the film, though.
Susannah Breslin (roughcut.com) said, “Most troubling, and probably the film’s greatest failure, is that it simply seems unable to pick sides in the gender war: it’s as caught up in despising macho men as it is disgusted with modern women. Throughout, we’re left torn between hating men or hating women.”
This is not a failure, Susannah. Picking on one sex would have been. Elizabeth Weitzman (film.com) got it right: “This is not a great comedy, but it has some honest laughs, a few touching moments, and a welcome balance between the girls and the boys.”
Eric Lurio (Greenwich Village Gazette) said, “He soon concludes that women are indeed BETTER than men in all respects and this is confirmed as Alex’s boyfriend dumps her when she won’t put out.”
This doesn’t conclude crap, Eric! The movie didn’t say women are better than men. It may conclude certain type of men (those who use women for only sex at the expense of their feelings) may be the scum of the earth. We all know there are women who use men, too. As far sex, if men could read women’s minds in bed, women might actually welcome it!
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) said, “I also liked the way Gibson handled the sex scene, where his look of joy and complete self-satisfaction at the end is equaled only by Jack Nicholson’s famous Triumph T-shirt moment in “Five Easy Pieces.” Even those men who didn’t like this movie will enjoy this scene.
Elvis Mitchell (New York Times) said, “If the movie had the courage to show that women are complex people, it would be a much more inspired picture.
Elvis? I think your mind has left the building. This was not a complex movie and therefore did not require complex notions of women – or men. Nancy Meyers took some fundamental differences from an extreme angle and had fun with it. Thanks to Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt – it worked!
Rob Blackwelder (splicedonline.com) said, “Yet, despite the fact that both are fine actors, there just doesn’t seem to be much chemistry between them.”
Gibson and Hunt was a perfect match, Rob. I’m one guy who generally likes romantic comedies and if the romance weren’t there – then the film wouldn’t have worked for me. Granted it wasn’t the best love story of all time, but it wasn’t meant to be. “What Women Want” was more comedy focused.
Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) said, “The most moving moment it provides is a Nike commercial for female runners created by the real-life Weiden-Kennedy Agency. When that’s your emotional high spot, you know you’re in trouble.”
This was your emotional high spot in the film, Ken? If you thought a NikeÂ© commercial was a higher spot than Gibson’s G-spot scene, then I think it is you who is in trouble.
Susan Stark (Detroit News) summed the movie up best: “It’s a romantic comedy with a distinctly modern, delicate but sharp, satirical cutting edge.”
What women want are for for men to understand them. But don’t men want the same thing? It doesn’t take a mind reader to figure that one out. The fact is we don’t understand each other and that’s why we will forever have romantic comedies.
Posted on January 10, 2001 in Features by Herb Kane
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