What Women Want

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Chances are that if you like the movie “Groundhog Day” you’ll like this. The way I see it, they’re almost the same movie. And that’s not a bad thing, as I liked them both (though I prefer Groundhog Day to this Mel Gibson vehicle). The copying of plots and storylines is nothing new, especially in today’s Hollywood, in fact, most people say that there were only a finite amount of plots and Shakespeare wrote them all. So where do we go from here? I suppose that I should explain my similarities to Groundhog Day since I made the bold statement in the first sentence…Well, here goes. Each movie contains a man (usually a jerk) who has a supernatural gift bestowed on him. In Groundhog Day’s case, it was the ability to repeat a day again and again until the subject (Bill Murray) finally started to change and make good with his life. Same thing here, only the “gift” is the ability to read women’s thoughts instead of living the same day over and over. It also occurred to me that I might have just given away the ending to this movie. I don’t think so, but in any case it’s the most fun getting there. And that’s what you’ll have when you watch this light-hearted comedy. Fun. We all know Mel Gibson as a tough guy, when he’s not shooting people on screen or saving the world (city anyway), he’s fighting the English and shouting “Freedom”. So if anyone needed to get in touch with their feminine side, it’s Mel. And boy does he…

Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson) mostly has it all. He shows up to work late, he thinks the world of himself and thinks that everyone else sees him the same way. He’s been earmarked for a promotion that would put him in charge of most of the company, but as fate would have it, that job has been given to Darcy McGuire (Helen Hunt). Understandably upset, Nick decides to make the best of a bad situation and tries to do his best. Given a box of women’s “personal things”, he’s at home (in his Manhattan condo) waxing his legs, trying on panty hose and putting on mascara when all of the sudden he stumbles on some bath beads and gets electrocuted by the hair dryer. Nick awakes the next morning to find that he is relatively unharmed, though he’s not sure what kind of impression that he made on his daughter’s boyfriend. It’s not too long after that that he discovers that he can read the minds of women. Nothing has puzzled men more than what women are really thinking and what they really desire (trust me). And I’m sure that the feeling is more than mutual. Nick, seizing an opportunity, decides to use his newfound gift to his advantage and to try and gain the respect of his boss, Dan Wanamaker (Alan Alda). No one knows that this gift exists except for his friend and co-worker, Morgan (Marc Feuerstein), who seems content in knowing that his friend is up to no good.

What happens in the process, and we all see it coming, is that Nick starts to show some emotion and he also starts to fall for Darcy, who has recently been divorced. The eternal bachelor and womanizer, Nick is ready to settle down and tired of pursuing other females, especially Lola (A vastly underused Marisa Tomei). Not to give away too much, but let’s just say that What Women Want was destined to become a hit at the box office. It combines Mel’s “soft” side along with all the people who like him as an action star. It’s entertaining to say the very least, but I found some of the subplots to be a bit too predictable. And is it me, or is the new trend to make Advertising (my degree is in Advertising) Executives the evil “bad” guys now? First Bounce and now this…just a thought. Nancy Meyers has delivered a great cast and a very fun movie to boot, and wouldn’t you know it…the DVD has a pretty good selection of extras to boot. So if you and your date can’t decide on anything, pop in What Women Want…and take notes.

Video: How does it look?

What Women Want practically glows in it’s visual presentation throughout. Being a new movie released to DVD, and being handled by the folks over at Paramount, you’re destined to get good results when it comes to the audio and video portions of the DVD. You do. The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer is nearly flawless, except for some scenes that keep it from being that “perfect” DVD transfer. Colors are very bright and vivid, but some scenes require a more muted approach…no problem. Fleshtones are natural and smooth and the attention to detail is superb. Black levels are right on target, but the thing that concerned me was that I saw a bit of artifacting in a few scenes. Still, it’s another testament to Paramount’s commitment to providing some of the best DVD transfers around.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track has it’s share of ups and downs. Most comedies don’t have really “kickin'” soundtracks, but this one does have it’s moments. The thunder and lighting (well, the thunder anyway) when Nick gets struck sounds particuraly good, as does the Frank Sinatra montage that Nick seems so keen to dancing to. Dialogue is clean and free of any distortion, and all I can say is that this is up there with all day and date releases. Nothing to showcase the home theater for, but you won’t be disappointed either.

Supplements: What are the extras?

What Women Want also has it’s share of extra material to keep you busy. Included are two theatrical trailers shown in non-anamorphic widescreen and two featurettes. The first, The Making of What Women Want is just that. Featuring interviews with Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Nancy Meyers and more the twenty minute featurette is informative and give a general insight to the making of the movie. The second is entitled What Women Want: A Look Inside. Though shorter, this hits all the spots where the first one didn’t (i.e. why they made the movie, character motivations, etc…). rounded out with the most noteable feature, a full-length commentary with Nancy Meyers and Production Designer Jon Hutman. If you can’t tell by the featurettes that Nancy Meyers is a quite the talker, you defininately will when you listen to the commentary (the first thing she does is thanks you for listening). Filled with tons of insight and little quips, this just might be one of the better tracks that I’ve heard. Though What Women Want might not be for everyone, I found that it was enjoyable and the DVD has enough extras to keep you occupied for quite a while.

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