What Women Want

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What Women Want
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNancy Meyers
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byThomas J. Nordberg
Stephen A. Rotter
Carol Littleton
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed byParamount Pictures (United States)
Icon Entertainment International (International)[2]
Release date
  • December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15)
Running time
127 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million[3]
Box office$374.1 million[3]

What Women Want is a 2000 American romantic fantasy comedy film written by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake, directed by Nancy Meyers, and starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.

The film earned mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success, with a North American domestic gross of $182 million and a worldwide gross of $374 million against a budget of $70 million.

A loose remake, What Men Want, was released in 2019, starring Taraji P. Henson and Aldis Hodge.


The mother of Nick Marshall, a Chicago advertising executive, was a Las Vegas showgirl. Raised by beautiful women who spoiled the boy as an adored mascot, and with tough casino men as role models, the adult Nick is a chauvinist skilled at selling products to men and seducing women.

Nick expects a promotion at the advertising firm Sloane Curtis, but his manager Dan Wanamaker instead announces that he is hiring top rival Darcy Maguire to broaden the firm's appeal to women. Meanwhile, Nick's estranged 15-year-old daughter, Alex, is staying with him while his remarried former wife, Gigi, is on her honeymoon. Nick embarrasses Alex, who resents his over-protectiveness when he meets her older boyfriend, Cameron.

Darcy tasks the staff, including Nick, to develop advertising ideas for a series of feminine products she distributes at the staff meeting. He falls into his home bathtub while holding an electric hairdryer, shocking himself, and is knocked unconscious.

Awakening to discover that he can hear women's thoughts, Nick at first dislikes the ability after learning that most women, especially at work, dislike him and consider him sleazy. Nick's former therapist Dr. Perkins advises him to use the skill to his advantage, noting that he can answer the question Sigmund Freud died unable to answer: "What do women want?"

Nick telepathically eavesdrops on Darcy's ideas, but gradually becomes interested in her. Alex resents Nick's years of neglect, but they start to bond while he takes her shopping for a prom dress. After Nick telepathically finds out that Alex intends to sleep with Cameron the night of the prom, he attempts to give her some advice. He tells her Cameron is not interested in her for who she is, just for what he can do with her in bed. Alex, thinking Nick is being over-protective and trying to sabotage her prom, rejects his advice.

Nick and Darcy spend more time together, becoming romantic. However, he steals Darcy's idea for a new Nike ad campaign aimed at women, though he later regrets his actions, especially as it leads to Dan firing Darcy. Nick persuades him to rehire her, saying the ad was her idea and is eventually successful.

Over time, Nick succeeds in repairing his relationships with female acquaintances, especially those at work. He loses his gift during a severe thunder and lightning storm while on his way to see the company secretary, Erin, who has been contemplating suicide. He offers her a position for which he had previously turned her down; she accepts.

When Cameron dumps Alex at the prom for refusing to have sex, Nick finds and consoles her, cementing their newly repaired relationship. He visits Darcy and explains everything. She fires him, but then forgives him, and they share a kiss.


  • Mel Gibson as Nick Marshall: A Chicago advertising executive, who acquires the gift to hear what women are thinking.
  • Helen Hunt as Darcy Maguire: Nick's co-worker, who later becomes his love interest.
  • Marisa Tomei as Lola: Works in a coffee shop and is trying to become an actress. Nick uses his ability to seduce her.
  • Alan Alda as Dan Wanamaker, Nick's boss.
  • Ashley Johnson as Alex Marshall: Nick's daughter, who comes to stay with him, while her mom Gigi and stepdad Ted go on their honeymoon. She has a boyfriend named Cameron, who will "dump" her, after she declines sleeping with him right away. She at first, has a rocky relationship with her dad, but in the end reconciles with him.
  • Mark Feuerstein as Morgan Farwell
  • Lauren Holly as Gigi: Nick's ex-wife, mother of Alex, and just married to Ted; they leave on their honeymoon in the first scenes.
  • Delta Burke as Eve
  • Valerie Perrine as Margo
  • Judy Greer as Erin: A copy girl at Nick's workplace who is always ignored, had been turned down indirectly by Nick for a promotion, and is contemplating suicide.
  • Sarah Paulson as Annie: Nick's secretary, a job limited to running menial errands for Nick, which she sees as degrading, in light of her Ivy League education. She has a boyfriend who lives in Israel.
  • Ana Gasteyer as Sue Cranston
  • Lisa Edelstein as Dina
  • Loretta Devine as Flo
  • Diana-Maria Riva as Stella
  • Eric Balfour as Cameron: Alexandra's much older boyfriend, who is manipulative and abandons the relationship, after she tells him that she is not ready to sleep with him after the prom.
  • Logan Lerman as Young Nick Marshall
  • Robert Briscoe Evans as Ted: Second husband of Gigi and stepfather of Alexandra. He leaves with Gigi at the beginning of the movie to go on their honeymoon.
  • Alex McKenna as Alexandra's friend
  • Bette Midler as Dr. J. M. Perkins (uncredited)


Box office[edit]

What Women Want made $33.6 million during its opening weekend. The film topped the box office upon opening, dethroning How the Grinch Stole Christmas.[4] Additionally, it had the highest December opening weekend of all time, surpassing Scream 2.[5] This record would last until 2001 when Ocean's Eleven took it.[6] For its second weekend, What Women Want was overtaken by Helen Hunt's other film Cast Away.[7] It went on to make $182.8 million domestically and $374.1 million worldwide.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 54% based on 122 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Even though Gibson is a good sport in his role, What Women Want is a rather conventional, fluffy comedy-romance that doesn't make good use of its premise."[8] On Metacritic the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[10]

In a lukewarm review, Kimberley Jones of The Austin Chronicle praised Gibson's performance and likened parts of the film to classic screwball comedies, but felt the ending became a "dull, drawn-out morality play".[11] Roger Ebert wrote the movie "doesn't flow so much as leap from one good scene to another over the crevices of flat scenes in between ... it's not boring and is often very funny".[12] Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com was critical: "Although What Women Want is being marketed toward women, it does nothing but condescend to them."[13]


For his portrayal of Nick Marshall, Gibson was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor—Comedy/Romance. Hunt won the latter award in the Favorite Actress—Comedy/Romance category, while Mark Feuerstein and Marisa Tomei each received a nomination in the supporting categories. It also garnered Tomei a nod for the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, while Ashley Johnson was nominated at the Young Artist Awards.

For his score, composer Alan Silvestri won the ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films, it received a Saturn Award nomination for "Best Fantasy Film" from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, US. The film also won the Bogey Award in Platin from the Bogey Awards, Germany. It was also nominated for the Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy from the Casting Society of America, US. It received the Golden Screen Award in Germany.



In 2009, the website Pajiba published an article reporting that producer and scriptwriter Peter Chiarelli was working on a sequel, which would re-imagine the concept from the viewpoint of a woman who could hear men's thoughts.[14] Cameron Diaz was courted to star as its lead.[15] The film was released in 2019 as What Men Want with Taraji P. Henson in the lead role.

Foreign market remakes[edit]

A Chinese remake directed by Chen Daming starring Andy Lau and Gong Li was released in 2011.[16]

Manmadhudu in 2002 is an Indian Telugu-language romantic comedy film directed by K. Vijaya Bhaskar from a story written by Trivikram Srinivas which is loosely based on What Women Want.

Aga Bai Arrecha! in 2004 is a Marathi film directed by Kedar Shinde from India that is loosely based on What Women Want.


  1. ^ "Wind Dancer Films". winddancer.com.
  2. ^ Goodridge, Mike (December 18, 2000). "What Women Want". Screen International. Retrieved September 29, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "What Women Want (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  4. ^ "'What Women Want' claims top spot". Daily Record. December 19, 2000. p. 32. Archived from the original on September 3, 2022. Retrieved September 3, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  5. ^ "Mel Gibson steals show from 'Grinch'". News-Journal. December 18, 2000. p. 2. Archived from the original on October 21, 2022. Retrieved October 21, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  6. ^ "'Ocean's Eleven' rolls winning numbers". The News & Observer. December 12, 2001. p. E10. Archived from the original on August 30, 2022. Retrieved August 30, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  7. ^ "'Cast Away' sails to top of box office". Daily Press. December 25, 2000. p. 2. Archived from the original on August 31, 2022. Retrieved August 31, 2022 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  8. ^ "What Women Want (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  9. ^ "What Women Want reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  10. ^ "Search for 'What Women Want'". CinemaScore. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  11. ^ Kimberley, Jones (December 22, 2000). "Movie Review: What Women Want". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  12. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 15, 2000). "What Women Want movie review & film summary (2000)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  13. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (December 16, 2000). "What Women Want". Salon.com. Retrieved August 15, 2022.
  14. ^ Rowles, Dustin. "Pajiba Exclusive: The Second Biggest Rom-Com of All Time Gets a Sequel". Pajiba. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  15. ^ Tyler, Josh. "Cameron Diaz Remaking Mel Gibson's What Women Want?". CinemaBlend. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "What Women Want (我知女人心)". Film Business Asia. March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011.

External links[edit]