My biggest takeaway after screening Adam Shankman’s new masterpiece, What Men Want, is that Pete Davidson should really play Bob Geldof in a Boomtown Rats biopic. Or maybe he can star in the remake of Pink Floyd: The Wall. Both of those projects are just minutes away from being born in the black-eyed soulless corporate toy store we call Hollywood, so why not let it be Davidson? No one else looks like Bob Geldof. Pete Davidson comes along and looks just like St. Bob. What else do you need to know?
Right, so Adam Shankman remade What Women Want for Taraji P. Henson. Good. That’s good, right? I can’t tell. It was a very draining viewing experience since this film just so happens to feature most of the actors whom I’d personally pay money to never have to watch on screen again. The above-mentioned Davidson, sure, he’s impossible to deal with, but throw in Josh Brener, Max Greenfield, Brian Bosworth and, much to my dismay, Tracy Morgan, and it’s all I can do to keep paying attention between exhausted sighs every few seconds when the next disaster of an actor shows up to ruin another scene for me. And I used to love Tracy Morgan! But he’s too much. It’s just all too much. Everything is so hard these days. Do we really need What Men Want on top of it all?
But Henson is good. I love when she just goes for it in a role. More often than not, she’s the best part of a lot of bad movies. Here, there’s barely a movie around her, but she somehow manages to save it wherever she can. And I will always and forever be grateful anytime Erykah Badu decides to show up in something, especially if she’s playing a whacked-out weed-dealing psychic with enormous hair and terrifying eyes. So, thank you, Ms. Badu. Thank you for everything.
The biggest obstacle for most remakes these days is that there really isn’t anywhere to go with them. What Men Want is just What Women Want. There isn’t a whole lot to explore there. That being said, this is a funny movie. It’s weird and way too long, but overall, it’s exactly what I expected, and I laughed a lot more often than I thought I would. Films like this are best when viewed with the right audience, just as horror is best at midnight with an eager and bloodthirsty crowd. And my audience, while small, did not disappoint. This is a big, loud, broad comedy, and to be fully appreciated in the theater means knowing it’s hitting its marks and connecting, and this one definitely did. That doesn’t make up for the fact that I had to look at Max Greenfield mugging for two hours, but I’ll take what I can get.
With a premise this limited (a woman gets hit on the head and can suddenly hear men’s thoughts), it needs to stay simple, and mercifully, What Men Want keeps it pretty tight. But at close to two hours, it also seems to go on forever. Still, it’s funny and smart and stupid and silly in all the right spots, which is enough for a remake of a terrible Mel Gibson comedy from 2000. I look forward to the next entry in the What Want Cinematic Universe. Rated R for language and sexual content throughout, and some drug material.
Now playing at AMC River Hills 10, Carolina Cinemark, Regal Biltmore Grande.