While the new Taraji P Henson film What Men Want has that BET films feel that reminds Phumlani S Langa of films like Think Like a Man, it isn’t quite so corny.
What Men Want
Director: Adam Shankman
Starring: Taraji P Henson, Kristen Ledlow
Disclosure: I mess with anything Taraji, even the slightly questionable stuff like Proud Mary. My handle on Instagram was @Taraji P’s Henchman. You catch that? All that aside, however, I was also a big fan of the original film starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, What Women Want (2000). As a youth, I lapped this movie up. I even recorded it on VHS so as to re-watch it at my leisure. I was a sucker for a good romcom and this story of a dude who gains telepathic powers after dropping a hairdryer into the bath tub with him, allowing him to hear the thoughts of women, was fascinating to me.
What Men Want is the gender bender, black spin of the same film. I might have a problem with this flipping of white things and making them black; I will confirm with you later, but I think that bothers me a bit. But, this film is a heater as far as romantic comedy goes. It provides a lot and all I require these days is that a love flick doesn’t end at the airport as violins play and salty kisses are shared at the last moment before take-off. Stop that!
Taraji plays Ali Davis, a sports agent who is doing everything in her power to make partner at her predominantly male firm. This character is highly proficient at her job, not to mention sassy and very well dressed throughout. She is a little forceful with her assistant, the nerdy and fairly sassy Brandon Wallace (Josh Brener) and her general interactions with men are strained, to say the least.
Much like Mel, she incurs physical trauma that renders her mind supercharged and the thoughts of all the men around her flood her own. She’s thrown by this and seeks out a shaman (Erykah Badu), who advises her to use these powers to her advantage.
What makes this film, besides Taraji, is the work done to really tap into the way men think throughout the day. It provides laugh-out-loud moments. For someone who was involved in the making of the terrible Step Up films, director Shankman did just enough to get away with this one. It still has that BET films feel that reminds me a bit of films like Think Like a Man, but it isn’t quite so corny.
We’re at the tail end of this month of love thing; this was made for such times.