What Men Want

A gender-reversed remake, What Men Want follows hotshot sports agent Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) as she gains an ability to hear the thoughts of men around her – with the narrative detailing Ali’s efforts at using her newfound power to successfully sign a hot new talent (Shane Paul McGhie’s Jamal Barry). It’s an appealing premise that’s employed to consistently underwhelming (and tedious) effect by director Adam Shankman, with the movie’s less-than-involving atmosphere compounded by Henson’s aggressively over-the-top turn as the seriously unlikable and unsympathetic central character (ie Henson, for the most part, delivers a dialed-up-to-11 performance that grows more and more grating as time progresses). The script, written by Tina Gordon, Peter Huyck, and Alex Gregory, has been suffused with an egregious number of palpable missteps (eg a wedding that goes totally awry) and relies heavily on eye-rolling tropes and conventions (eg the dreaded fake break-up), and although the narrative does contain a small handful of appealing elements (eg Ali’s fledgling relationship with a handsome bartender), What Men Want, saddled with a ludicrously overlong running time, predominantly comes off as a bottom-of-the-barrel comedy that makes its predecessor look like a minor masterpiece by comparison.

* out of ****

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