What Women Want


Directed by: Nancy Meyers
Written by:Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa
Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Lauren Holly,  Bette Midler
Released: January 11, 2001
Grade: B-

Nick Marshall (Gibson) is a high-flier in the advertising biz and is gearing up for an expected promotion.  He tells his secretaries to start packing for the move upstairs, arranges a 1:00 lunch with another colleague and heads off to meet with company director, Dan Wanamaker (Alda).

Surprise!  The job has gone to Darcy McGuire (Hunt) who has come from another top firm with the reputation of being a hard-nosed bitch.  Women are now the significant target in the advertising market and Dan doesn’t believe Nick has the touch to develop the firm in that area.

In her introductory address, Darcy gives the staff a chance to impress.  She gives everyone a box of women’s products that require advertising ideas.  To show he still has what it takes, Nick decides to try a few of the products - lipstick, eye shadow, pantyhose...  However, in a drunken state, Nick falls into the bathtub with the hairdryer.  When he wakes up the next morning, something is different - he can hear what women think.

Stunned at first, the advice of a marriage counsellor (Midler) puts him on track.  As she says, “if you know what women want...the world can be yours”.  Think of the possibilities.

Bottom line, What Women Want should be taken with a grain of salt.  I could begin a deep psychological discussion on what both women and men think or I could ask everyone to read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.  It’s worthy subject material but is not treated seriously in this film.

Mel Gibson is a stereotypical male bastard who treats women like dirt until he sees the light through this special gift.  For some reason, in this large session in which I saw the film, women were crazy about the film.  They loved seeing Mel Gibson transform and win the hearts of all women.  Sadly, that’s all the film really offers so please advise boyfriends to stay at home.

Of most interest from a male perspective are the workings of the firm and the final product that both Nick and Darcy show to Nike executives.  Those being picky (such as myself) will see the obvious flaws.  How is it that the thoughts heard are only selective - surely women think about more things?  The film’s conclusion was also poor.  Without revealing too much, why didn’t Darcy ask Nick how he knew her thoughts?

Sure it’s meant to be a light-hearted comedy and I confess I did laugh occasionally but there wasn’t enough to material to hold my attention for over two hours.  If you take a look at Nancy Meyer’s previous efforts, Father Of The Bride, Father Of The Bride II and The Parent Trap, you know you’re in for a “rosy and fluffy" ride.  Honestly, would anyone really want to know what women think?  If we all knew what each other thought, life would be pretty boring.  Then again, I could have seen this coming and braced myself for the experience...