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What Women Want

Daring, but Disappointing

By Raja Mohan

staff writer

Directed by Nancy Meyers

Written by Josh Goldsmith, Diane Drake, Cathy Yuspa

Starring Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Lauren Holly, Mark Feuerstein, Ashley Johnson, Delta Burke, Alan Alda, and Valerie Perrine

Rated PG-13

Wouldn’t it be nice if a man could electrocute himself with a hair dryer in a bathtub only to wake up the next day with the ability to read the minds of women? It happened to Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson), a chic advertising executive at an established firm. He is known for having a chauvinistic, pretentious attitude and fleeting taste in women. He’s a man’s man who knows how to get in bed with women, but doesn’t understand the mind of one. However, his character, influenced by growing up with a Vegas show-girl mother, dramatically changes after being blessed with the ability to read the minds of women.

It all starts when Nick Marshall loses his dream job as creative art director to an up-and-coming marketing guru, Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt). Maguire authoritatively urges each member of her staff to discover new ways to reach female consumers in order to get more market share. Marshall experiments with feminine products, has an accident, and wakes up with a truly amazing power. Eventually, Marshall complicates his once carefree life by truly making an effort to understand women and react to them accordingly.

The movie is disappointing, however, because it doesn’t truly state what women want. Although Freudian theories are tabled and women are portrayed as sweethearts and the more thoughtful sex, the representation of women is only superficial and two-dimensional. The movie doesn’t seek a reliable answer as to why men cannot understand women. Perhaps men and women do not understand women as a gender. At any rate, director Nancy Meyers may have considered it a risk to arrive at a sweeping conclusion.

A rather amusing scene is the date with Lola (Marisa Tomei) and Nick Marshall. The date as well as the conclusion of the relationship portrays how complicated and confusing short-lived relationships can become. Marisa Tomei masterfully acts as a uptight, worrisome coffee-shop cashier with dreams of becoming a famous actress.

Even after Marshall loses his amazing ability, the ending is predictable. The movie might be heartwarming, but its resolution is unsatisfactory. The love story and the themes involving relationships are archaic and lack depth. You may not understand what women want, or even what men want, but for a few laughs, cheesy sentiment, and fitting music, watch this movie.