Wednesday, 29 October 2008

No.100 : What Women Want

What Women Want at the IMDb

Mel Gibson stars in this high concept chick flick during which he learns about himself and becomes a better person. Sounds terrible? Well, that’s because it is.

Mel plays Nick (the prick) Marshall a self loving advertising executive who treats people, including his teenage daughter, shabbily. He thinks he’s the bee’s knees but in reality he’s a total ass and heading for a fall.

He specialises in T & A adverts and is confident of a promotion being offered by his slimy boss, Alan Alda. His dreams are shattered however when a supposedly bitchy copywriter played by Helen Hunt is hired instead to try and capture some of the female advertising money that Mel’s sexist campaigns have scared away. Hunt charges all the copywriters to come up with slogans for a load of lady products and gives them samples to take home. Reluctant to get involved at first Mel soon gets in the spirit of things after a few drinks and is soon wearing tights and polishing his nails. Things go further downhill however when he’s caught cross dressing by his daughter and her older boyfriend, and even more so when he falls into the bath with a hair-dryer.

As movie law dictates he isn't electrocuted but instead gifted with the power to hear women’s inner thoughts. Obviously he doesn't believe this is happening and various non-hilarious situations ensue as Mel picks up some feminine remarks. He soon heads for therapy with Bette Midler and once convinced she persuades him to use the gift for the benefit of mankind. Mel being a dick eventually realises the possibilities and utilises his skill to get foxy waitress Marisa Tomei into bed and to steal the best ideas from Hunt and other ad people.

As he works with Hunt he slowly grows to like her and begins to see her and a dowdy office clerk as real people with real feelings. With a large Nike account up for grabs and his daughter’s ill advised date to the prom looming, Mel has to judge the best way to use his skill and to what end.

This is a really ghastly film with the redemption of Gibson’s character both unwelcome and unbelievable. The opening scenes are obviously designed to show that he’s a shallow uncaring swine but he just comes across as a total prick in a cavalcade of endless, self indulgent scenes where he dances around his apartment to Frank Sinatra and generates piles of compliments about his blue eyes and ‘nice ass’ from the minds of the ladies he encounters. To be fair he gets a few negative ones too but there are nothing about Mel, only his character’s aftershave or jokes.

The concept of ‘Mel Gibson reads women’s minds’ is pretty thin to sustain a full 90 minute film so it beggars belief that this trundles on for a bum numbing 126. The padding is relentless with the daughter subplot totally unnecessary as was the treatment of Tomei’s obviously mental character who gets humped and dumped with no pay off coming her way except Mel claiming to be gay. Thanks that’ll help my low self esteem! Another subplot involved Judy Greer’s depressed file clerk who is talked out of suicide by Mel giving her a dream job. Yeah, that’ll address all those mental and psychological issues, thanks again!

The love story aspect is the worst of the bunch with there being not a scintilla of chemistry between the two leads. Hunt’s ballsy high flyer is a travesty to woman with her going all goo-goo eyed over Gibson almost immediately and professing her love for him after one kiss. Unbelievably Mel reveals all and after some terrible feigned outrage she takes him back to live happy ever after! Deceitful tools take note!

The central device is never really explained although we’re given a clue towards the end when an old lady gives him a funny look. We know she must have special powers seeing as she’s oriental and all! All in all this is a bloated, unfunny mess which, while appealing to a certain brand of needy women, will be seen as a shallow piece of patronising garbage by everyone else.

Best Bit : Marisa’s bed wear.

‘W’ Rating : 7/23

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