“What Men Want” is that one in a million, average movie that comes along that there really is almost nothing to say about. Taraji P. Henson plays a sports agent that gains the ability to read the minds of men via psychic hijinks, resulting in a head injury and uses it to rise to the top of the pile in her cutthroat career by attempting to land a high profile client through his overbearing father and manager played by Tracy Morgan.
It’s a fairly straightforward comedy that goes for the crowd pleasing laughs and, despite missing more than it lands, never becomes particularly painful to sit through across the duration of its roughly two hour run time.
I’m reluctant to suggest, but only so much could have tightened the movie on the technical end with a script this bland. The best jokes of the movie kick in when Henson has to navigate social scenarios to her benefit where the contrast between what the men around her are saying and showing as opposed to what they’re actually thinking is at its peak.
It takes a good 35 or so minutes for the premise to really take off however, so what’s left is a lot of screen time with her friends, family and life that are elaborately produced to little actual effect. In no place is this perhaps more evident than in the performances. Henson and her assistant played by Josh Breener share excellent chemistry with one another but can’t help but give off this odd vibe that they’re too good for the movie they’re in and aren’t fully aware of it; a vibe that carries over in scenes with the equally talented Aldis Hodge and Richard Roundtree, playing her boyfriend and Father respectively.
While this does lead to the occasionally quaint and charming scene of understated drama that effectively offsets the wacky antics of the comedy and transcends the paper thin nature of the script, it doesn’t quite overcome that while “What Men Want” avoids the worst aspects of broad comedy it remains firmly planted within, the jokes themselves just aren’t hilarious or frequent enough.
There are far worse films to catch for a weekend excursion but “What Men Want” is far from anything that demands a big screen experience unless you’re just dying to get out of the house.
2 out of 5
Graduating from Texas A&M University—Commerce with a bachelor's degree in News and Editorial Journalism, Jordan Wright has lived most of his adult life professionally critiquing films, from major blockbusters to indie dramas, and has no intentions of stopping.