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Movie Review

What Women Want

MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for sexual content and language

Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older teen to Adult
Romance Drama
2 hr.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Mel Gibson in “What Women Want”
Featuring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Lauren Holly, Marisa Tomei, Bette Midler
Director: Nancy Meyers
Producer: Bruce A. Block, Carmen Finestra, David McFadzean, Stephen McEveety, Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Stephen McEveety, David McFadzean, Bruce Davey, Gina Matthews, Matt Williams, Nancy Meyers, Susan Cartsonis
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Nick (Mel Gibson) is a chauvinistic, top level Chicago ad executive who is in pre-celebration mode regarding a promotion he thinks he’s going to get. He’s upset to find that his boss has hired Darcy Maguire instead. Darcy’s first project for her staff is to test women’s products in order for them to come up with ideas as to how to sell them. During testing the items at home, Nick is accidentally electrocuted. When he regains consciousness the next morning, Nick is horrified to learn that he can read women’s minds. After his former marriage counselor points out that Nick now has an advantage, he decides to use his newfound “gift” to discredit Darcy.

Helen Hunt in “What Women Want”

“What Women Want” is a light romantic comedy that makes good use of Gibson’s charm as a loveable rogue who has some lessons to learn about respecting women. It’s fun to watch his reactions when he realizes that most of the women around him don’t think much of him, including his teenaged daughter. The music in this film, with the exception of a couple of songs, is straight Rat-Pack retro.

Some of the humor is a bit raunchy for the film’s PG-13 rating, but the profanity is kept to a minimum. Nick sleeps with another woman he’s after (Marisa Tomei), and he catches his daughter in a passionate embrace with her boyfriend, but there’s no nudity. Nick is shown drinking a lot, and his former marriage counselor (Bette Midler) puffs on a marijuana cigarette.

Most of the supporting players, including Loretta Devine as the door person in Nick’s apartment building, add some nice touches to the farcical goings-on. Unfortunately, the premise wears thin after it becomes apparent that the writers have missed some golden opportunities to make Nick’s situation more of a amusing commentary on male-female relationships.

Viewer Comments
I didn’t find this movie to be as offensive as many out there today, but still wouldn’t want my children to see it. It was adult (married) humor. The one sex scene was verbally graphic, and some of the jokes were crude, but otherwise the premise of the movie was quite funny. I think it’s a good “married couple” movie and thought Mel Gibson played the part very well. It ended well… he saw the errors of his previous ways, and did the right thing after all. I thought the ending was a little weak, but all in all a fun movie. My Ratings: [Average / 3]
LS, age 38
This movie was entertaining in the way it shows how a man might react to being able to hear women’s thoughts. It had its funny parts and that sex scene (TOTALLY unnecessary!!) but I thought it was nice how he eventually tried to use his “gift” for good… with his heart-to-heart with his daughter and helping the office girl who was suicidal. There was a lot of profanity though. If you really want to see it, wait to rent it. My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
Laurena, age 16
I was highly offended for the way Hollywood tried to push the limits with the PG-13. I was hoping to see a cute show, but was very embarrassed not only for myself but for the 5 teenagers that sat in front of us. You could tell by their reactions that they were embarrassed with some of the scenes in it even though they are use to having sex thrown up at them in movies these days. I guess that I had higher expectations from a Mel Gibson movie. I would DEFINITELY NOT recommend this to any of my friends or to you. Yes, there was some funny times in this show and I was glad that he and Helen Hunt got together, but it was not worth the money. If you think that you MUST see it just wait till you can get it on video. (That way you can TURN IT OFF or EDIT the ridiculous sex scene out. Several other places in the show would have been better had they changed them up a little as well.) I must give this movie a low rating for these reasons. My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 2]
K., age 42
As a happily married man for two years now, my wife and I have seen many movies together in the five years we’ve been together. Most movies contain horribly unrealistic scenes with sex and romance, but I have to admit this was not one of them. If you are not married, you might not catch some of the sexual humor. My wife and I thought this movie was very insightful into the minds of women. This is not a “family” movie and if I had children I wouldn’t necessarily want them to see it because of the mature content. It’s hard for young girls to believe it, but Mel Gibson’s character was a very good representation of many men. As a christian man, I found this movie convicting because I saw myself portrayed in Mel Gibson more than I wanted to. I recommend this movie to older married people who can cope with sexual humor. Similar to “Meet the Parents,” very entertaining, but not for kids. If this sort of movie bothers you, by all means please skip this one. My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Patrick, age 22
Did anyone catch the idea that this character was meant to be this offensive (how many men have I met in the work place just like this!) so you and the character could see the changes that take place in him after he can read women’s minds! Yes, it’s offensive and by the end it changes. A man very selfish becomes very vulnerable—to a woman. My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
Ronni, age 38
After seeing the movie, I would hope that no Christian in their right mind would pay to see this piece of trash. The movie was not worth the $5.25 I spent to see it. Pointless sexual innuendo filled the movie, making it another one of Hollywood’s attempts to pollute America’s minds with garbage. If anyone chooses to promote this film, I would hope they would seriously evaluate their morals. My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
Jana, age 14
This movie was what you would expect. It tells all in the title “What Women Want”. If you don’t want to hear girls innermost thoughts then don’t go see it. Right off the bat they imply that this guy has sex with a lot of girls. There is a sex scene and some crude comments. I would say this movie is for mature audiences. I liked the movie, but was a little disappointed. I thought that it was going to be totally funny, but it wasn’t. There was funny parts, but it didn’t have me laughing the whole time. you can’t go into this movie with high expectations. My Ratings: [Average / 3]
Tiffany Millikan, age 15
After seeing this movie, I came away disappointed. It was nothing spectacular and really it was just another movie out there. It certainly wasn’t worth my 8 dollars! If you really want to see it, go ahead, but don’t expect anything really hilarious about it. My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
Tony, age 17
I decided to go see this movie with my parents thinking it would be just a cute movie about a guy who hears what women think (pretty harmless). The next thing I knew there was a sex scene flashed before my eyes. This made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed. Also, the movie was filled with innuendo and profanity which didn’t make me feel any better. I suggest to everyone to sit out on this movie because as a christian it makes you feel ashamed and embarrassed for what you have seen and heard. My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
Cec, age 17
I first went to see this because I really enjoy many of the movies that Mel Gibson stars in. However, upon leaving the theater I felt deeply disappointed and offended by the content. The sexual innuendos couldn’t even be called that because they were so blatant. There was no real depth or meat to the movie either. I believe that if you want good, clean fun don’t see this movie. My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
Kathy, age 20
The movie is humorous in that Mel Gibson’s character has some sort of insight into women’s minds. But I didn’t approve that he used that in a way to undermine them to make himself look better. He uses his ability for a lot of the wrong reasons. The movie is humorous because it shows how a man reacts to what women think and why we do the things we do. It allows men to see in a way what we actually think about and why we do what we do. If you’re not sure about this movie, I would wait until it comes to a theater that sells tickets for a cheaper price. My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
Melissa, age 16
This was a very funny and entertaining film, although some scenes could have been left out. There was one sex scene, and very little profanity. However, if you can overlook all of this, you will find yourself enjoying this movie as I did. Highly recommended! Mel Gibson proves that he can do comedy! For ages 15 and up. My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 5]
Adam, age 18
I really enjoyed this movie. I love romantic comedy movies like One Fine Day, Sleepless, and You’ve Got Mail—I’m one of those sappy guys I guess. It was definitely a *SIGH* movie for me. I enjoyed the romance between Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson. From a discerning Christian’s view though, it had some objectionable things. The language in the movie was actually mild for these days, there were also a few proper names for genitals used, so sex-related humor was there. The most objectionable scene was when Mel Gibson sleeps with Marisa Tomei. At that point he is still in his male pig frame of mind, although you can tell he is not quite as sure. I wish they would have left that scene out, even though it had some funny dialogue, it is not something that goes along with Phillippians 4:8. They could have made it a kissing scene and not a sex scene and it would have had just as good an impact. Face it, most movies are from “the World”, so what do you expect. You are either gonna tolerate to a degree or you might as well cut movies from your entertainment choices for the most part, which may become legalistic. Go on your personal convictions. Those strong in the Lord will have the discernment to judge between right and wrong, and to see the messages that lie beneath in movies. Of many of the movies out there, I would recommend it as a good movie, with the understanding that there are not Christian morals driving the movie, and that there are worldy lifestyles of the characters. I have seen worse. But as for movie making quality, it is a fun movie. My Ratings: [Average / 4]
Jonathan, age 25
I was pretty surprised at some of the content in this movie. I realized that Nick Marshall (Gibson) started as a male pig, but I didn’t think it would be taken to such extremes. While the entire movie was cute overall, there was a particular side plot with the coffee lady that really had no relevancy to the movie at all and was not appropriate. I agree this movie hardly passed under the bar for PG-13. Watch at your own risk… oh, and it’s like PG-21, although my parents were embarassed to have seen it. My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
Betsy, age 18
Last night I unfortunately went along with some friends to the movie theater. As one of the few times I’ve seen them this week, I felt that it would be a great time of fellowship… however, If I had known beforehand how terribly immoral this movie would be, I would have missed the girls night out. This movie had a sex scene… which in itself was highly offensive. Additionally, there was so much innuendo that I felt violated just by watching the movie. I’m 20 years old, yet I was embarrassed just to be seen walking out of this film showing. I encourage anyone who is trying to grow closer to Father not to watch this movie… My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
Kelly, age 20
Unfortunately, this film had some bad language and some “sex” scenes. Which were not part of the plot, so they didn’t even need to be seen or heard. What I did like about this film is: lately I’ve been thinking deeply about God’s plan for me to benefit people. When Gibson’s character was able to hear what others thought about him, he tried to change how others perceive him, and in the course of this he ends up changing for the better, and he genuinely wanted to help people. So in my deep thinking, this movie in an odd way, re-affirmed visually how and why I need to benefit my brothers and sisters. My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
Tony Pros, age 21
…Some of the humor is pretty raunchy (almost too salty for a PG-13 rating)…
James Berardinelli
…Much of the humor is sexually-oriented and more appropriate to an R-rated film… It doesn’t offer anything new in terms of insight into the male/female relationship…
Michael Elliott, Movie Parables
…sheer energy and audience allure to burn…
Todd McCarthy, Variety
…the comedic elements could have used some serious punching up, but Gibson manages to Mel-evate the material to a crowd-pleasing level. …Too bad the characters don’t have anything more interesting to say (or think).
Michael Rechtshaffen, The Hollywood Reporter
…Set your standards on neutral, and enjoy it for exactly what it is—mindless entertainment that will make you laugh, but won’t linger in your mind much farther than the theater’s parking lot.
Paul Clinton, Cable News Network