Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2019. BET Films, Paramount Players, Will Packer Productions. Story by Jas Waters, Tina Gordon, Screenplay by Tina Gordon, Peter Huyck, Alex Gregory, based on the earlier film What Women Want, story by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Diane Drake, screenplay by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa. Cinematography by Jim Denault. Produced by James Lopez, Will Packer. Music by Brian Tyler. Production Design by Mark Hutman. Costume Design by Sekinah Brown. Film Editing by Emma E. Hickox.
Nancy Meyers’ 2000 comedy What Women Want, starring Mel Gibson as an ad executive whose magically-acquired insight into women’s thoughts helps him in love and life, has been remade and given a gender switch. Now it’s Taraji P. Henson playing a sports agent who is told that she hasn’t made partner at her agency because she “can’t connect with men”, a disconnect that is repaired when a girls night out involving some funky tea from an eccentric psychic (played with humorous abandon by Erykah Badu) and a nasty bump on the head result in her being able to hear everything going on inside mens’ skulls. Her agency is looking to sign a promising basketball player and she is determined to be the one to snag him; once she realizes the potentials of her newfound powers she uses them to navigate her target’s loopy father (Tracy Morgan) but still falters in her personal life, where she fails to see the value of a possible new romance with a handsome single father (Aldis Hodge). It’s likely that audiences will take issue with a film that ends with the moral lesson of telling a black woman to be more tolerant, not to mention its featuring a sneaky criticism of excessive career ambition, but try to just enjoy the premise as a concept-comedy lark and you might have a good time. The film is too long, has an overly elaborate set-up and resolution, but Henson’s facial expressions are worth the price of admission, her skill at carrying a movie actually making the excessive supporting cast seem like an insult (you don’t need sassy girlfriends AND a gay assistant in a romantic comedy anyway). Adam Shankman provides his worst direction in years, allowing a lot of badly written and performed voiceovers to ruin the quality of the experience, but thankfully he also knows when to give his star room to shine.