Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Movie Review - What Women Want

“What Women Want” is, you might suspect, Mel Gibson. Well, at least some of them do. We men of course know the answer only too well - what women want is, in fact, anything that they can't get! :-D

Anyware here's Mel, taking a break from creating socially relevant but commercially unviable films to star in another commercially viable but socially inconsequential film.

Okay so what about the film?…

This is a very funny film. The trans-gender crisis scenario has been done before, but I don't remember it being handled in quite this manner before. A freak domestic accident gives chauvinist Mel the ability to hear what women are thinking. After seeing his former marriage guidance counsellor (it failed – he's divorced) he realises that he can actually use this to his advantage rather than just view it as a curse.

Fortunately for us, the producers of this film don't fall into the trap of simply creating a series of set pieces based on this rather than a film. There is a coherent (though somewhat predictable) plot in here. The strongest aspect of it, however, is Mel's attempt to win back the love of his daughter, whom he has hardly seen in the fifteen years of her life. The “battle of the sexes” element is given a faint suggestion of fresh paint rather than a radical makeover. I guess it does end up making a decent social observation or two.

Get serious…

While this is a comedy (and Mel Gibson displays a fine sense of comic timing throughout the film), some parts, such as his daughter's prom night scenes, are tackled with delicacy and sensitivity. Far from detracting from the humour of the film, the balance between comedy and seriousness is well handled. Helen Hunt does well with her role, and Alan Alda plays himself. (Again.) I didn't feel the script gave his character much to go on, and he really does better playing a mixture of light and heart-wrenching scenes, such as his role in MASH gave him. (Although interestingly the episodes he directed himself had very few lighter moments.) The supporting cast are fine, nothing to right home about but good nonetheless. (Especially watch out for the girl who is contemplating suicide – again handled delicately).

It is well directed and produced, and the cinematography is good. No complaints with the production values at all.


But that aside, you really watch this film for the laughs. And it delivers, lots of laughs in here although not many real belly laughs. Highly recommended if you're not in too serious a mood! People who aren’t particularly fans of romantic comedies will find something to like here, although I’m not sure quite how much they’ll enjoy it. I enjoyed it, but it’s some way short of a classic. However, it is some way above average and thus receives a four-star rating.


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