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Paramount Studios presents
What Women Want (2000)

"It's never too late to do the right thing. That's what I'll do, I'll go over there and do the right thing."
- Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson)

Review By: Kevin Clemons  
Published: May 06, 2001

Stars: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt
Other Stars: Ashley Johnson, Alan Alda, Marisa Tomei, Mark Feuerstein
Director: Nancy Meyers

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language
Run Time: 02h:06m:32s
Release Date: May 08, 2001
UPC: 097363383840
Genre: romantic comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B B-A-B+ B

DVD Review

It is a commonly known fact that, by nature, most men are idiots. I myself often wonder how I go from day to day without hurting myself, while my girlfriend thinks of the most amazing things every hour. For the main character of What Women Want finding out why women are the way that they are comes easily—he just happens to be able to hear their thoughts. Although, for the countless masses of men who wonder how women do it, What Women Want won't offer any help, but the concept certainly is intriguing.

As far as he is concerned, life is going great for Nick Marshall (Gibson). His ex-wife (Holly) is getting married, he is in line for a large promotion at the Sloane Curtis ad agency where he works, and he is enjoying jumping from each one-night stand to the next. Soon every thing starts to fall apart as Nick is passed over for the promotion he thinks is all but his, and his relationship with his teenage daughter (Johnson) is near non-existent as she refuses to even call him Dad. Enter Darcy Maguire (Hunt), a master of female-target marketing, who takes the job Nick expected and is determined to have no matter what the cost. Nick's chauvinistic ways are changed when a freak accident gives him the ability to hear what women are thinking. Believing it's a curse, he goes to a psychologist (Bette Midler) where he is convinced that it is a gift. As Nick begins to use his abilities at work and in his personal life things begin to look up again, until he finds himself developing feelings for Darcy.

The most damaging flaw of What Women Want is that the script is loaded with too many subplots. Several of the subplots are never fully explored enough to make the viewer care about the characters that are featured. Marisa Tomei is wasted in her role as a coffee shop worker with whom Nick flirts, and ultimately sleeps with in a very funny scene. It begins to seem as though characters are designed to for little further than plot device showing the transformation of Nick from Chauvinist to nice guy, including Judy Greer in a nice performance as a suicidal file clerk. What Women Want gets lost in these meanderings and a premise that would have made for a terrific ninety-minute film stumbles as the length grows to over two hours.

Much of the success of What Women Want can be attributed to its two stars, as both Gibson and Hunt deliver wonderful performances, exhibiting perfect chemistry together. Gibson, in his first romantic comedy in his twenty-year career, plays Nick with a nice amount of charm and personality. This is the kind of role that Cary Grant would have walked away with, and Gibson proves to be every bit as good. It is a nice change of pace for Gibson, and I can only hope he makes the decision to do comedy more often. Hunt, who looks amazingly beautiful in this film, is quickly becoming one of a handful of actresses whose work ensures that a film will be enjoyable.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: What Women Want features a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer that easily rates as the best I have ever seen Chicago look on film. Both sharpness and detail look terrific and colors are vibrant in many of the exterior shots of Chicago. Black levels have nice depth to them, as the scenes shot at night in Nick's apartment or on the street look wonderful with no traces of grain evident. Edge enhancement is never a problem and pixelation rears its ugly head a small number of times but never enough to become a distraction. This is a wonderful transfer from Paramount.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English and Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Like most romantic comedies, What Women Want won't damage the foundation of the house, although the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is more active than several other genre stablemates have been. Alan Silvestri's score comes across nicely in the surround speakers on more than one occasion and dialogue is clean and easy to understand. Much like the film itself, the sound for What Women Want does a lot with a little, and the result is generally very pleasing. English and French Dolby Surround tracks are also provided.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 17 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
1 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Nancy Meyers and production designer Jon Hutman
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: What Women Want took in nearly one hundred and ninety million at the box office, and for Paramount that is enough to give the disc special edition treatment. First, a commentary track by director Nancy Meyers and production designer Jon Hutman that while interesting contains too much silence to obtain a whole-hearted recommendation. Meyers and Hutman have several nice stories about the behind-the-scenes aspect of the film, but soon fall into the dreaded "This is what is happening on screen right now" curse.

Running sixteen minutes in length The Making of What Women Want is a promotional look at the film containing interviews with the cast and crew, as well as a look behind-the-scenes. Far more interesting are a series of interviews running twelve minutes in length. Meyers and the cast talk about the story, working with each other as well as the characters in the film.

Rounding out the extra features are the film's two theatrical trailers.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

For those of you who have searched this review hoping to find out What Women Want, I can answer you with this: my credit cards. As for what Kevin wants? Well, he wants a nice transfer, a surprisingly active audio mix and entertaining extras as well as a good movie. What Women Want has each of those things and is most certainly recommended.

 


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