WHAT MEN WANT – Review by Susan Granger

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Hollywood’s current penchant for gender-flipping – like Ghostbusters (2016) and Oceans 8 (2018) – continues with this raunchy remake of Nancy Meyers’ romantic comedy What Women Want (2000), starring Mel Gibson.

Hard-working Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a selfish, ambitious, Atlanta-based sports agent who is passed over for a long-overdue promotion to partner by her chauvinistic boss (Brian Bosworth), who points out that, although she reps Serena Williams, none of her clients are from the “big three” sports leagues: NBA, NFL and MLB.

“You don’t connect well with men,” he informs her. “Stay in your lane.”

Determined to push through his sexist prejudice, ruthlessly competitive Ali vows to sign rising young basketball star, Georgia Tech player Jamal Berry (Shane Paul McGhie).

Problem is: Jamal’s overbearing dad, Joe “Dolla” Berry (Tracy Morgan), doesn’t trust a woman without a family, so Ali introduces her latest one-night-stand, widowed single father Will (Aldis Hodge), as her husband, claiming his six year-old son, Ben (Auston Jon Moore), as her own.

Meanwhile at a friend’s wild bachelorette party, Ali meets Sister (Erykah Badu), a weed-hustling psychic who feeds her a bitter-tasting brew. That spiked tea, coupled with a concussion Ali suffers, somehow endows her with the supernatural ability to read men’s minds.

With her devoted assistant, Brandon (Josh Brener), by her side, Ali ferociously outsmarts her colleagues (Max Greenfield, Jason Jones) to gain leverage with Jamal.

At the same time, insensitive Ali supposedly experiences an emotional transformation, learning to share and reevaluate how she relates to family and friends.

Superficially scripted by Tina Gordon, Peter Hyuck and Alex Gregory, and directed like a raucous sex farce by Adam Shankman (Hairspray), it’s definitely reflective of the pop culture #MeToo movement and includes cameos from authentic sports figures like Mark Cuban, Gerard Hill, Shaquille O’Neal and Devonta Freeman.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, What Men Want is a flimsy 5, despite Taraji P. Henson’s exuberant performance.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.