Rex Reed, also a graduate
of LSU, though I suspect he did not take as many chemistry courses as I, has
deemed What Women Want to be moronic. For some of you, that should be
enough to get you off your deathbeds and into the theaters.
Mel Gibson is a Las Vegas born
lady killer at the creative helm of a top ad agency in Chi-town. Helen Hunt is
the ad ace called in to make the agency more female-friendly. No more tap the
Rockies Swedish Ski Team big bouncy breast commercials. Nope. Need those l'eggs
hairwaxing lip sticking ads.
Sadly, Gibson is ill equipped to
make those insightful kinds of ads, and Hunt is hired over him.
Her first assignment for the
staff is for each to come up with ideas for a whole box full of female
products. Gibson takes his home, tries on everything, and ends up half
electrocuting himself in a nicely done ballet d'estupid.
Result? Mel can now hear what
women think, and he thinks he can simultaneously know what women want. Of
course he can't, and that helps to make this downright hilarious in
Gibson has proven he is the
current romantic comic lead in the US, hands down. He can be irreverent, full
of himself, and charming, with that quintessential leaf of spinach clinging
precariously and unbeknownst to him right to his right
Hunt is charming herself as the
one woman who pretty much says what she thinks. That had to be pointed out to
me, but nonetheless 'tis true.
What the film lacks is definitive
comic direction from Nancy Meyers who did several of this decade's milder
comedies.* There are obvious plot holes and some stuff just just feels like it
is missing - some conflict stuff is just not resolved as it could be, and the
opportunity for total chaos stuff at the ad agency involving Mel's
femme-mind-reading talent stuff was overlooked. At least the film is not
Also, there was a pointless
subplot involving his teen-aged daughter that only seemed to hold things up. He
did not really look like the kind of guy that would grow from mindreading
encounters with a fifteen year old and she had a stinky potty attitude that
provided supposedly comic conflict, but it just did not work that well. Better
if she had lived with him for years and he thought he really knew her than the
way it played out, but it does not make much difference.
We laughed our asses off, and the
other thousand people at the theater did too. It has made 112 million in three
weeks, entering the exclusive hundred million club, and ensuring at least a
sequel and more from the Gibson/Hunt team.
| An aside: Hunt is doing
great stuff in films. She has transitioned beautifully from TV to the big
screen, and has a sweetness and presence that is sorely lacking in many of our
other female "stars". Are she and Gibson supplanting the team of
Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant?
| *Parent Trap, The (1998)
Father of the Bride Part II (1995) I Love Trouble (1994) Once Upon a Crime...
(1992) Father of the Bride (1991) Baby Boom (1987) Protocol (1984)
Irreconcilable Differences (1984) and Private Benjamin (1980) .