May 6, 2019  (Web Review)

What Men Want

Paramount, 117 min., R, DVD: $22.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $39.99, May 7

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Hollywood’s current penchant for gender-flipping remakes—such as Ghostbusters (2016) and Oceans 8 (2018)—continues with this raunchy take on Nancy Meyers’s romantic comedy What Women Want (2000). Hard-working Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a selfish, ambitious, Atlanta-based sports agent who is passed over for a long-overdue promotion by her chauvinistic boss (Brian Bosworth), who points out that although she reps Serena Williams, none of her clients are from the “big three” sports leagues: NBA, NFL, and MLB. “You don’t connect well with men,” he informs her. “Stay in your lane.” Determined to push through his sexist prejudice, ruthlessly competitive Ali vows to sign a rising young basketball star, Georgia Tech player Jamal Berry (Shane Paul McGhie). Problem is: Jamal’s overbearing dad, Joe “Dolla” Berry (Tracy Morgan), doesn’t trust a woman without a family, so Ali introduces her latest one-night-stand, a widowed single father (Aldis Hodge), as her husband, claiming his son as her own. Meanwhile at a friend’s wild bachelorette party, Ali meets a weed-hustling psychic (Erykah Badu) who feeds her a bitter-tasting brew. That spiked tea, coupled with a concussion that Ali suffers, somehow endows her with the supernatural ability to read men’s minds. Aided by her devoted assistant (Josh Brener), Ali outsmarts her colleagues (Max Greenfield, Jason Jones) to gain leverage with Jamal. At the same time, insensitive Ali experiences an emotional transformation, learning to re-evaluate how she relates to family and friends. Unfortunately, this is a superficially scripted film that Adam Shankman directs as a raucous sex farce. Optional. [Note: Blu-ray extras include audio commentary by director Adam Shankman, deleted and extended scenes (31 min.), the behind-the-scenes featurette “The Dream Team” (16 min.), and the production segments “Flipping the Narrative” (4 min.), “What Do Men Want?” (5 min.), “Poker Night” (4 min.), and “Ali + Athletes” (3 min.), as well as a “Sister Spills the Tea Infomercial” (2 min.), a gag reel (5 min.), and bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a solid extras package for a disappointing remake.] (S. Granger)