Please distribute this URL as you see fit. By Ted Baldwin
Amusing, isn't it?
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What Women Want"

Mind Reading!
Role Reversals!
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Five possible.
.     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 spots.

     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 incisor.

     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 stuffy.

     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) .
to LAFILM.NET, if that is not too obvious.

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