What Men Want
|What Men Want|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Adam Shankman|
|Based on||What Women Want|
by Josh Goldsmith
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Emma E. Hickox|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$72.2 million|
What Men Want is a 2019 American romantic comedy film directed by Adam Shankman and starring Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Tracy Morgan. A loose remake to the 2000 film What Women Want, the plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men's inner thoughts.
The film was released in the United States on February 8, 2019 by Paramount Pictures and BET Films. It grossed over $72 million worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Henson's performance but said the film was too safe and offered little new to the genre beyond the gender-switching aspect.
Ali Davis is a successful sports agent who is constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. She expected to be made partner at the agency she works at. However, she does not receive the title since someone did not vote for her. After her boss tells her that part of the reason why she didn't make partner is basically because she doesn't connect well with men, She begins to question what more she needs to do to succeed in a man’s world. Afterwards, Ali announces to the whole company that she will be the one to sign Jamal Barry.
After work, Ali goes to meet with her father at a gym and bar, where she encounters a bartender named Will, who she becomes interested in. They leave the bar together and go to his home, where they have sex. She is too aggressive, not knowing that Will is not satisfied with her performance in the bedroom. The next morning she awakens to his son in the bedroom.
At her friend Mari's Bachelorette Party, Ali and her friends are introduced to a psychic named Sister [(Erykah Badu)]. While Interviewing Ali, Sister gives Ali a special kind of tea, which Ali finds smelling awful after drinking it.
Ali and her friends then go out to a club to continue Mari's Bachelorette Celebration. Ali is hooked and partying crazy, due to the tea she drank from Sister. While dancing, another one of Ali's friends, Cierra, accidentally bumps her, causing her to fall back and hit her head on the bar counter, becoming unconscious.
She wakes up in the hospital and starts hearing her doctor's thoughts. While riding to work with her assistant, Brandon, she hears his comments about her, which causes her to confront him about his thoughts. They both freak out, which Ali gets out of the car and walk the rest of the way to work, while walking she encounters multiple men, hearing their thoughts. She realizes her gift to Hear Men's thoughts.
With her newfound power, Ali looks to outsmart her colleagues as she races to sign the next basketball superstar (Jamal Barry).
Using her newfound powers, she learns the location of a poker game, which Jamal's father and manager, Joe, will be attending. She shows up to the game, uninvited, much to the chagrin of Ethan, who was made partner over her. Ali could hear the thoughts of the men during the game, and manages to put herself in a situation where she and Joe were the only players left in the game. She loses, on purpose, to please Joe. Later, during a pitch to Jamal to choose Summit (Ali's agency) to represent him, Jamal is disappointed with the lame 90s video with racy images and bad editing. Ali manages to save the agency by appealing to Jamal's interests, and the promise of a successful career ahead. After the meeting, Ali hears the voice of Joe saying how he doesn't trust a woman without a family. She sees Will, whom she met at a bar previously and slept over at his place. However, she had run out after meeting his son, Ben, and seeing the picture of Will with his late wife, without giving Will a chance to explain himself. She passes Will off as her husband, and invites him, Ben, Joe, and Jamal to a basketball game on the weekend.
At the basketball game, Joe becomes impressed with how much of family woman Ali appears to be, unaware of the actual circumstances. Jamal meets Karl-Anthony Towns, his idol. Everything seems to be working in Ali's favor as Jamal is impressed with her efforts. Brandon, Ali's assistant, sets up a double date for Ali and Will with her friend Mari and her fiancé. During the billiards game, Ali overhears Mari's fiancé checking out another woman, to her disdain. Will, however, has only eyes for her. They go home and have sex, with Ali using Will's voice in her head to do exactly what he wants her to do.
Sometime later, Jamal and Joe were shown on the news, with Ethan having promised to sign Jamal with his new agency, having quit Summit. The agency is in China, and is offering Jamal a 5% comission. Ali feels defeated since signing Jamal was her plan to win recognition. Her boss, Nick, berates her, and threatens to fire her on the spot. While chasing after Nick, Will shows up, and Nick tells her that they can quit their little act now. Will finds out that Ali had been using him and angrily leaves, telling her not to contact him again.
At Mari's wedding, Ali hears that the groom had slept with Mari's cousin. She interrupts the wedding and tells Mari this, ending in an angry Mari slapping the groom. She also tells her other friend, Ciarra, that her husband had been unfaithful as well. The couples break out in a fight, which ends with a random woman accidentally hitting Ali in the head with a flower vase. When she wakes up in the hospital, the doctor thanks her due to her since her last visit, he entered rehab and is on a detox, which he revealed before, in his head, that he drinks and does cocaine. Because of her stunt at the wedding, she finds herself alone at hospital with her friends and Brandon mad at her.
Ali realizes that even though she could hear Jamal's voice, she had never actually listened to him. Using her prior knowledge of Jamal's hangout spot, she goes to see him at the basketball court, and asks him what he really wants. Jamal tells her that he does not want to go to China and would rather stay with the people he grew up with. Ali tells him to follow his heart, and not his head.
Jamal decides to stay in the United States, and becomes the 1st pick for an NBA team. Nick, impressed with Ali's results, promotes her to partner. However, Ali is sick of being a part of the men's club, and starts her own agency. She takes Kevin, her Summit coworker, as well as Brandon, and makes him an agent. She reconciles with her friends, promising to pay for Margarita Mondays. At Ben's 6th birthday party, Ali shows up with the sports car cake he wanted, and asks Will to give her another chance. He says yes.
- Taraji P. Henson as Alison "Ali" Davis
- Tracy Morgan as Joe "Dolla" Barry
- Aldis Hodge as Will
- Wendi McLendon-Covey as Olivia
- Josh Brener as Brandon
- Tamala Jones as Mari
- Phoebe Robinson as Ciarra
- Max Greenfield as Kevin
- Jason Jones as Ethan
- Kellan Lutz as Captain F*cktastic
- Brian Bosworth as Nick
- Chris Witaske as Eddie
- Erykah Badu as Sister
- John Collins (basketball) (born 1997) as himself
- Shaquille O’Neal as himself
- Grant Hill as himself
- Karl-Anthony Towns as himself
- Lisa Leslie as herself
- Pete Davidson as Danny
- Mark Cuban as himself
- Richard Roundtree as Skip Davis
- Auston Jon Moore as Ben
- Shane Paul McGhie as Jamal Barry
In 2017, Paramount announced that it was fast-tracking a remake of the 2000 Nancy Meyers film What Women Want. On November 14, 2017, it was announced that Taraji P. Henson would star in the lead role. On February 2, 2018, Adam Shankman signed on to direct the film. Max Greenfield and Tracy Morgan were later added to the cast.
What Men Want has grossed $54.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $16.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $71.2 million, against a production budget of $20 million.
In the United States and Canada, What Men Want was released on February 8, 2019, alongside The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Cold Pursuit and The Prodigy, and was projected to gross $18–20 million from 2,912 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $6.6 million on its first day (including $1.25 million from Thursday night previews). It went on to debut to $19 million, finishing second behind The Lego Movie 2. In its second weekend the film grossed $10.9 million, finishing fourth, and then $5.2 million in its third weekend, finishing sixth.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 45% based on 132 reviews, and an average rating of 5.17/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Admittedly uneven but easy to like, What Men Want proves a gender-swapped remake can work -- and the odds are substantially improved with Taraji P. Henson in the lead." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an 82% overall positive score and a 69% "definite recommend."
The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe praised the film's pacing and jokes, and said it featured a "predictably satisfying conclusion." Writing for The Washington Post, Sonia Rao gave the film two out of four stars, calling it a "so-so gender-flipped remake" and praising Henson's performance, while adding, "It would make a perfectly fine airplane movie. Or maybe save it for the bachelorette party."
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