“What Men Want” is a rather raunchy comedy loosely based on the 2000 film “What Women Want” which starred Mel Gibson. Adam Shankman is the director of this work which took three writers to concoct. Tina Gordon, Alex Gregory, and Peter Huyck are credited this latest example of Hollywood’s continued lack of originality. Having Taraji P. Henson as the lead is almost the only good decision made in this production. She is actually genuinely funny and goes a long way to make this thing at least moderately enjoyable. Tracy Morgan, Josh Brener, Richard Roundtree, and surprisingly, Brian Bosworth are part of the cast. No one really puts in a bad performance, but some of the directions the story follows just seems too obvious and unnecessary.
Henson plays an ambitious sports agent who is passed over for promotion. An ill-advised encounter with a psychic and a crack on the head are the catalyst for her to be able to hear the thoughts of men. Her non-verbal reactions to the thoughts bombarding her were quite convincing. Henson does have pretty sharp comedic instincts which helps considerably make this things bearable. Unfortunately, bearable is about as good as it gets, at least for me.
Brener plays the obligatory prissy, gay assistant to Henson’s character and is often pretty amusing himself. The two of them have a pretty typical unlikely double act when onscreen together and it works pretty well for the most part. It’s too bad they didn’t have better material to showcase their chemistry.
Brian Bosworth being in this movie seems a bit surprising since he is better known as an action star as well as a disappointing NFL linebacker in the 1980’s. He does fine. Nothing stands out in regard to his performance, either good or bad.
Tracy Morgan plays the overbearing father of a rising basketball star. Morgan tends to be a hit or miss source of amusement for me. He was fine here but nothing much other than what I have seen before from him.
There’s actually several characters in this one I rather liked. Richard Roundtree plays the father to Henson’s character, and I did find it pretty cool to see him onscreen with her.
The film ended up having some moments and characters that sort of worked or came close to it, but I still found this to be an ultimately frustrating experience.
As much as this piece confirms that studios should really start to turn away from cinematic reheats of this sort, it also solidifies my hope that Taraji P. will be cast in more lead roles. She just deserves better material than what was offered here.