What Women Want
Reviewed by David Kashimba

What exactly do women want? If you think going to the film What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, will answer this age-old mystery, think again. While the film pokes a lot of fun at the question, it leaves the essential mystery intact.

But don’t let that stop you from seeing this very entertaining comedy. Mel Gibson fans are well aware that one of Gibson’s special abilities as an actor is the ease with which he brings comic elements to most of his roles, from his high energy slapstick interaction in the Lethal Weapon films to choice moments in films like Hamlet. This comic sensibility has a deeper sense of humanity behind it, making it tick. “The idea is to get the human experience right, whether it’s in comedy, drama or action,” Gibson said. “It doesn’t matter so long as there is truth to it.”

Even though the plot of this film is a little farfetched, Gibson brings a real sense of truth to his character, Nick Marshall. Nick is a successful advertising executive, and raised by a mother who loved him, he naturally feels that he’s God’s gift to women. However, a shocking experience suddenly makes Nick so sensitive to women that he could hear their thoughts. What he hears is that he’s not the great ladies man he thought he was. Though he essentially uses his newfound gift to get what he wants from women, his sensitivity begins to grow on him until he actually starts to care about the needs of women. This caring manifests itself in many ways, but one of the most touching is with his daughter Alex (Ashley Johnson) and with his growing love for his rival at work, Darcy Maguire (Hunt).

“All you have to be is smart and willing in a romantic comedy, and Mel so completely embodies those qualities,” Hunt said. “He is incredibly sharp, has a great sense of humor and is willing to take risks. You have to be ready to look silly, to go almost too far, but you also need the brains to keep it grounded in reality so that people care while they’re laughing. Mel was great at all of those things.”

Indeed, performances that touched the audience’s heart, as well as their funny bone, was the magic ingredient that infected the entire cast and makes What Women Want worth seeing. After all, isn’t caring what we all want – women and men alike?

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