What Men Want(Amazon Prime)
Starring Taraji P. Henson,Aldis Hodge,Josh Brener,Erykah Badu,Richard Roundtree
Directed by Adam Shankman
Taraji P Henson playing the flip side of what Mel Gibson played in What Women Want 20 years ago hams it up all the way to an executive empire strutting around in a state of egomaniacal bliss that would have been quite amusing were it not so obnoxious.
It is not just that Henson’s Alison is so pushy and over-ambitious. It’s that she is a downright annoying attention seeker who can’t seem to get along with any woman or man except her father(veteran Richard Roundtree whom I grew up watching and cheering in the Shaft series) who has no choice.
Looks like what women wanted 20 years ago is not what men want now. That other film about a man who gets electrocuted into a state of mind where he can “hear” what women think, is relocated from a White Male Perspective to a Black Female Perspective. The translocation is uneasy and bland. The soothsayer who causes Alison’s hearing advantage is a campy marijuana smoker . Whoopi Goldberg would have played her twenty years ago.
Everyone tries too hard to be officious and cute ending up being both in the wrong places. Henson trying to flex her muscles at her workplace is like that bully in your classroom memory who insisted on a front seat just because it has the best view of the teacher.
Alison has only a faithful mousy white gay assistant Brandon(Josh Brener) by her side even when she treats him like white trash(inverted racism is okay imagine if a black man was tossed around the same way by his white boss!). Her affair with a decent widowed father(Aldis Hodge) comes to a sticky end when he finds out she was only using him to further her image of a family woman for promotional purposes.
Really, is there anything likable about this woman? The answer is an emphatic NO! Then why should we spend 90 minutes of our life watching Alison treat everyone badly, and that includes us the audience.