75 – What Women Want

Mel Gibson’s a pretty good-looking guy. I feel secure enough in my maleness to say that. In fact, I can say it with pride. He’s one DAMN fine man! Woooooo hooooooo!

Oops, got carried away there. But it just goes to show you that even we devoutly heterosexual guys realize he’s kinda hot. And that’s important for this film to work. Mel plays Nick, an incredibly sexist, egotistical, arrogant, womanizing ad-agency executive. He’s the kind of guy who guys want to be and who women want to have. This might explain his popularity a little.

Nick’s all set to get the big promotion he feels he deserves – to Creative Director of his ad agency. His boss and mentor Dan (Alan Alda) calls him into his office for a talk. Nick’s all ready for the big news. Can’t wait for the corner office on the 44th floor. And then Dan drops the bombshell on poor Nick. Not only isn’t he getting the promotion, Dan’s hired someone else to take the job! And not only that, it’s a woman!

So now our poor spoiled boy – who has seen women as either sex objects or hired help, and sometimes both – has to report directly to a woman. Oh, poor, poor Nick. Yes, I can practically hear you ladies out there, just oozing with empathy for this lost soul. A fine comeuppance, you’re thinking. He’s getting what he deserves, you think.

His new boss, Darcy (Helen Hunt), in her first staff meeting, hands out kits to each of the ad people that contain “feminine” products (such as lipstick, padded bras, eyeliner, stockings, and, of course, wax). She wants the company to start paying more attention to the female consumer, noting that billions of dollars were spent by females the previous year, and none of that cash went to their company.

So Nick takes the stuff home and, drunk on wine, tries it all on. Has to keep his job, you know. And minutes later, a freak electrical accident involving a bathtub and a hair dryer leaves Nick with the most dubious of gifts: the ability to read the minds of women.

Hmm. I don’t know about my fellow males, but I’m not sure I want to read the minds of women. As if reading their minds would help me understand anything! But poor, poor Nick. He hears EVERYTHING women (even a female poodle) are thinking, with the predicted madcap hilarity. But it’s spooky for our favorite chauvinist. What’s he to do? Well, he IS a chauvinist. So he uses his newfound ability to steal Darcy’s ideas and present them as his own! What a guy!

The movie wouldn’t be all that wondeful with only one plot going on around Nick, so we get the added pleasure of him having to “watch” his 15-year-old daughter while his ex-wife is on her honeymoon, of him dealing with a semisweet, semipsychotic coffeehouse babe, of him dealing with a mousy coworker/underling. It’s all presented to make Nick’s life look chaotic, although there are few people who wouldn’t trade places with him in general (except for that mind-reading thing). I mean, let’s face it. He’s attractive to women, has money, and… well, what else is there, really?

So how does this comedy of telepathy end? It’s not unpredictable. Knowing that Nick is stealing Darcy’s ideas, how do you think he’d resolve his situation? And knowing the peripheral plots, how do you think he’ll tie them all together?

Because of Gibson’s seemingly endless charm (like Cary Grant, he can simply grin sheepishly and win hearts), this movie stays afloat. He has a capable, if not distinguishable, supporting cast. Oh, and check out the six-pack old Mel’s sporting. That’s what the good life can get you: a personal trainer and a lifetime supply of Tae-Bo tapes.

What Women Want: 7


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