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What Women Want (2000) star
Reviewed 2001-06-22: Though it pretends to answer that question, and it's directed and co-written by women, What Women Want really is Mel Gibson's movie. Gibson plays Nick, a chauvinistic "creative" in an advertising firm who, after an accident, begins to hear what women around him are thinking. So how does he use his "gift" (as his psychiatrist, the uncredited Bette Midler, calls it)? When he gets passed over for a promotion, in favor of a woman (Darcy, played by Helen Hunt), he uses the ability to read her thoughts to steal her ideas and torpedo her position. But, wouldn't you know it, he falls in love with her!

OK, it's not a very deep plot, so two subplots are thrown in for spice. One involves a coffee shop worker (Lola, played by Marisa Tomei) who desperately wants Nick to ask her out. Of course Nick picks up on this and, through is newfound ESP becomes just perfect as a lover. But, gee, he has to dump her when he falls in love with Darcy (Hunt). But the scriptwriter couldn't let this "new man" actually hurt a woman, so they create a perfect cop-out for him. The other sub-plot involves a suicidal, low-level co-worker in the ad agency. Of course, only the newly "sensitive" Nick picks up on her problem -- just in time.

I'm sure I learned nothing I needed to know from this film, and the reason very likely is that the female characters were pretty weak. Director Nancy Meyers might have done better with a lesser known actor in the Nick role and someone equally talented but more feminine in the Darcy role -- or at least two actors who show even a spark of interest in each other on screen. And Marisa Tomei seems wasted once again (as she was in The Watcher, 2000) in the role of Lola, but at least she fights for every scene with Gibson. That's more than I can say for Helen Hunt, and I even like her.

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Ronald Bruce Meyer is a freelance reviewer.