What Men Want (R)

Directed by Adam Shankman, written by Tina Gordon, Peter Huyck and Alex Gregory (giving credit to the team who wrote the original, “What Women Want” (2000), of course) and starring Taraji P. Hensen, What Men Want is Mel Gibson’s What Women Want, except that Mel’s character is now a Black woman. Each characters is successful in their field. Both are self-absorbed, arrogant, energetic, results-driven, work hard/play hard characters. He was a male chauvinist self-absorbed, jerk who ended up with empathy, compassion and a heart of gold. She was a disconnected, hardened woman who learned to warm up, open up and trust someone beside herself (and her father). If you’ve not seen the original go watch it.

Both movies are equally entertaining. In the interest of being a person who likes to know what I’m talking about, I watched the original today (Friday, February 8, 2019) for the very first time. It was an enjoyable, solid movie. Don’t know how I missed it. I’m a huge fan of Mel Gibson’s work.

Taraji P. Hensen can be quite funny at times. She and Josh Brenner played extremely well off of one another. Erykah Badu fits in perfectly here and steals the entire show with her scary, crazy self. She really is such a good actress. If you’ve not seen The Cider House Rules (1999), do so.

Clichés include the woman-on-top sex scene that every comedy starring a black woman seems to require nowadays, the most Caucasian sounding, up-tight acting White woman somewhere in the orbit (a friend/coworker/neighbor) of a crew of Black women – oh, and of course she gets her man back in the end. I refuse to give a spoiler alert for any of this because it is part of the formula and anyone who has seen a rom-com knows how it goes and what to expect. Everything gets tied up with a pretty little bow in a neat package. The end.

I like the addition of a father (Richard Roundtree) for Taraji’s character. That character is part of what separates this movie from the original, even more so than whatever gender of ethnicity the characters may be. What makes this movie stand out is the super positive representation of men as fathers. No man bashing here. These were stand up dudes, each in their own way (Richard Roundtree, Tracy Morgan and Aldis Hodge), doing their best to raise their children well.

(I can’t lie…the fact that the fathers are Black men is an added bonus for the positive representation. Since I’m a Black woman who sees a lot of movies each year I can tell you, I cannot think of one movie I’ve seen in the past few years – any years honestly – which featured kind, thoughtful, communicative, heterosexual, Black men. There may be a movie with one! But not three! And if you don’t know: Yes, that is important. I’ve been watching (and enjoying) movies featuring nothing but white people my whole life without complaint. I’ve seen negros, Black people, African Americans evolve from slaves/servants, pimps/hoes, gangstas/gang bangers and any other negative, stereotypical nonsense one could think of on film. So yes, I will be pleased by positive representation each and every time, even though it plays a minor part in how I rate a film. If representation is done extremely well, as it is here, I might bump it up .5 bloops, but I will never give a movie that earned 8 bloops 10 because the main character or the cast is Black.)

What Men Want earned 8 (.5 bump included) out of 10 bloops. This is a smart remake that does much more than just change the gender and ethnicity of the main character. It goes a step further with the addition of these positive men/fathers who happen to be Black. It’s a great Valentines Day movie because it isn’t a strict “chick flick.”

Thank you for reading. You can scroll all the way down to the bottom of this page, hit the “follow” button and enter your email address to subscribe to bloopbymimi, and never miss a review; or you can follow me on twitter (which I must get more savvy with and active on!) @bloopbymimi1

 Bloops:

1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Lion                                        Manchester by the Sea           Arrival
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The Lobster

 

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