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"WHAT WOMEN WANT"
(2000) (Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy None Heavy Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Minor Mild Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Mild Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Romantic Comedy: When a freak accident allows him to hear the thoughts of any woman he encounters, the ultimate man's man hopes to use that gift to his advantage in both his personal and professional lives, but eventually changes his ways when he learns what women really want from theirs.
PLOT:
Nick Marshall (MEL GIBSON) is a confident man's man, a testosterone-laced bachelor who has no problems charming or bedding the ladies of Chicago. He's also a hot-shot advertising executive who's so sure that he's going to get a big promotion that his airhead assistants, Eve (DELTA BURKE) and Margo (VALERIE PERRINE), have already opened the bubbly.

Unfortunately, his boss, Dan Wanamaker (ALAN ALDA), knows that the buying power in America has switched over to young women, so he's hired Darcy Maguire (HELEN HUNT), another ambitious ad veteran from a rival firm, for the position. Neither Nick nor his buddy, Morgan Farwell (MARK FEUERSTEIN), are pleased with this development, especially when Darcy gives them "homework" - to come up with campaign ideas for various women's products -- on her first day.

Nick has other problems beyond that. His ex-wife, Gigi (LAUREN HOLLY), has just remarried so their 15-year-old daughter, Alex (ASHLEY JOHNSON), will be staying with him for two weeks. She clearly isn't happy about that prospect as she views him more like a distant uncle rather than a father. To make matters worse, Nick's having a devil of a time convincing coffee shop employee Lola (MARISA TOMEI) to go out with him. Clearly, Nick doesn't know what women want.

Then one night, a freak accident suddenly leaves Nick with the ability to hear any woman's inner thoughts. Upset and overwhelmed by this sudden flood of personal information, Nick thinks he's going crazy, as does Morgan who urges him not to tell anyone else about this condition. After he visits his former marriage counselor (BETTE MIDLER) who tells him that if he knows what women want he could rule the world, however, he suddenly realizes he could use this gift to his advantage.

As such, he then sets out to read the thoughts of the various women in his life and use that information to figure out his teenage daughter, bed Lola and impress Dan with Darcy's ideas before she does. While doing so, however, he eventually realizes why women behave and think the way they do, and soon begins to change his way toward them.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
The film may appeal to teenage girls from the romantic comedy angle, and might draw in those who are fans of any of the cast members.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sexual content and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MEL GIBSON plays the stereotypical, ambitious "man's man" who doesn't see women as equals, but has no problem flirting with or bedding them. Once he realizes his gift of hearing their thoughts, however, he changes his ways and becomes more compassionate toward them. He also uses some profanity, drinks a bottle of wine in one scene, and smokes.
  • HELEN HUNT plays an advertising executive who must deal with people thinking she's a "bitch" and finds herself falling for Nick. She also uses some profanity.
  • MARISA TOMEI plays a coffee shop worker who allows Nick to seduce her and thus ends up sleeping with him.
  • MARK FEUERSTEIN plays Nick's business associate who pretty much thinks just like him. He also uses some profanity.
  • LAUREN HOLLY plays Nick's ex-wife who's just remarried.
  • ASHLEY JOHNSON plays Nick's 15-year-old daughter who thinks of him more as an uncle rather than a father (due to him not being that involved in her life). She occasionally has a surly attitude and plans to lose her virginity with her older boyfriend after the prom, but ultimately doesn't do so.
  • JUDY GREER plays a lonely and depressed woman at Nick's office who's contemplating suicide.
  • ALAN ALDA plays Nick's boss at the advertising firm.
  • DELTA BURKE and VALERIE PERRINE play Nick's two airhead assistants.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-13 rated romantic comedy. That rating comes from a partially seen sexual encounter (played for comedy rather than raciness or eroticism) with intercourse that occurs off-camera; implied sexual encounters that we don't see onscreen (based on various comments and the sight of a woman's skimpy panties in the protagonist's bedroom the following morning); and some sexually related, but non-explicit jokes and other related comments.

    There's also some brief fooling around between a 15-year-old girl and her older boyfriend and related comments that she plans to lose her virginity to him after their prom, other kissing and gazing at body parts of the opposite sex, and various instances of cleavage and some brief, partial nudity in a flashback.

    Profanity consists of at least 7 "s" words, along with other expletives and colorful phrases, while a few songs have lyrics that include some profanity and other possibly objectionable material. A minor character smokes a joint, the protagonist smokes cigarettes, and also downs an entire bottle of wine in one evening (while other drinking occurs in other scenes).

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes (including the protagonist and his view of women - although that changes during the course of the story) and the protagonist is both struck by lightning and receives a jolt of electricity in the bathtub (all played for laughs). Some family tension is present between the protagonist and his teenage daughter, while a minor character is depressed and seemingly suicidal.

    Should the preceding summary not appease your concerns about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who wishes to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Nick's housekeeper carries away two glasses of liquor from the night before.
  • Eve and Margo are excited about Nick's pending promotion and open some champagne when he comes back to his office, but no one has any since he didn't get the job.
  • Various people drink at a wedding reception, including Nick, Gigi and her new husband who all have champagne.
  • We see Nick drinking wine throughout an evening until he's emptied the bottle.
  • In a later scene, Nick drinks more wine.
  • Shocked at Nick's thought-hearing capabilities, a marriage counselor excuses herself for a moment so that she can light up and take a few puffs from a marijuana joint in her office.
  • Nick hears his daughter think, "He must be stoned," due to the odd way in which he's behaving toward her (but he's not stoned).
  • People have drinks in a club, including Darcy and Nick. During this, Darcy thinks or says that a smart person would get very drunk right now.
  • Darcy comes into Nick's office with a bottle of champagne after they land an account.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Nick calls various women "babe" and "broad" and is a typical man's man who looks down at women (from an equality standpoint) but has no problem flirting or bedding them.
  • While Darcy makes a presentation, Morgan makes the gesture for male masturbation and Nick acts like the imaginary ejaculate hits him in the face.
  • Nick hears an office employee thinking that she uses the company phone to call her boyfriend in Israel.
  • After Nick hears a woman think about her faking headaches, she then lies about that to the others at a meeting when he brings it up.
  • When asked for suggestions about some ad concepts, Nick reads Darcy's mind and blurts out her answers before she does, thus taking credit for her thoughts. Later, however, he feels bad about this and confesses to her.
  • Although she's partly reacting to the way he's treated her in the past, Alex still has a bad attitude (and acts surly) toward Nick (even after he buys her a prom dress).
  • We learn that Nick never called Lola after having sex with her (six days ago).
  • We hear that Alex's older boyfriend dumped her at the prom after she decided not to have sex with him afterwards.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Those sensitive to scenes featuring people electrocuted in bathtubs via running hairdryers or being struck by lighting might find those scenes (listed in full under "Violence") as unsettling or suspenseful, but they're played entirely for laughs here.
  • Nick slowly and hesitantly makes his way through an employee's home, fearing that she may have committed suicide (due to having previously heard her depressed thoughts) and not sure what he might find/see. In the end, however, she's fine.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "He'll sh*t a brick," Babe" and "Broad" (for women), "Family jewels" (testicles), "Suck up," "Getting our rocks off," "I hear she's a bitch on wheels," an incomplete "What the..." "Jeez," "My little sweet ass," "He's such a schmuck," "Idiot," "Punk," "Holy crap," "Freaking out," "What the hell," "Nuts" (crazy), "Screw(ed) up" and "Slut."
  • Nick seems to purposefully run into a woman carrying some coffee so that he can wipe off her tight-fitting top (and briefly/casually touch her clothed breast) after that coffee spills onto her.
  • While Darcy makes a presentation, Morgan makes the gesture for male masturbation and Nick acts like the imaginary ejaculate hits him in the face.
  • Nick loudly belches.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of comically suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song includes the beginnings of some lyrics that state, "I'm a bitch..." while another has the line, "Shaking that ass." Another has a line about spending "my life, making love to you, day and night, night and day."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 7 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 1 slang term for breasts ("boobs"), 13 asses (3 used with "hole"), 3 hells, 2 craps, 8 uses of "Oh God," 5 of "God" and 1 use each of "Oh Jesus," "Swear to God" and "Oh Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Gigi in her slip and thus see some cleavage.
  • We see various posters and ad samples in Nick's office (noted as being T&A related) that show women in skimpy outfits/bathing suits.
  • We see a flashback to Nick's formative years as a youngster when he was raised in Vegas by his showgirl mother. During these scenes, we see women in the standard Vegas showgirl outfits (low-cut or bikini tops showing cleavage, high-cut bottoms showing lots of leg, etc.). Some wear tassels on their tops, and one woman is seen with just small "caps" covering her nipples (seen in person and then a photo) while the rest of her bare breasts are seen. Also, a miscellaneous man playfully slaps a woman on her behind.
  • When Nick's housekeeper awakens him, she notes how the sheets smell of a woman who was there the night before and then holds up the mystery woman's skimpy underwear that was left there. Nick then playfully smacks the housekeeper on her butt.
  • Nick seems to purposefully run into a woman carrying some coffee so that he can wipe off her tight-fitting top (and briefly/casually touch her clothed breast) after that coffee spills onto her.
  • Morgan asks Nick about a woman from the night before (the woman whose panties were in Nick's bedroom) and states that he thought she said she had to get to bed early. Nick then replies that he did have her in bed early.
  • A joke tells the difference between a wife and a job: After ten years, the job still sucks.
  • Dan tells Nick that "Getting into a woman's psyche is not exactly your strongpoint. You can get into their pants better than anybody on Earth, but their psyche is a whole 'nother ballgame."
  • Gigi shows cleavage at her wedding reception.
  • While Darcy makes a presentation, Morgan makes the gesture for male masturbation and Nick acts like the imaginary ejaculate hits him in the face.
  • The camera focuses on a woman's clothed butt in an exercise program on TV.
  • Nick states aloud that he needs to think like a woman to come up with an ad pitch for women's products, but all he can think of is a thong-wearing woman under a waterfall. As such, he then states, "I'm a lesbian."
  • Nick hears the doorwoman of his building comment (via thinking) on his rear end.
  • Nick hears a miscellaneous young woman walk by him thinking, "One kiss doesn't make me a lesbian, does it?"
  • Nick hears a woman thinking to herself that she can't figure out why her Ivy League education has gone to a waste and that she doesn't have anything important to do at the office and then remembers that it's "Because I have a vagina."
  • As Darcy bends over, Nick looks down her blouse and sees her cleavage (as do we). He then hears another woman think about him, "I hate that you've seen me naked."
  • Some comments are made about a married woman faking a headache (in relation to then not having to fool around with her husband).
  • Nick comes home to find Alex's boyfriend lying on top of her on the couch as they passionately make out. While both are clothed (she in a tank-top), Nick hears Alex think that her dad has seen her boyfriend "feeling her up" and then wonder where her bra is (and Nick then kicks it over to her from the floor). After the boyfriend leaves, Nick tells Alex that he knows what guys that age want and that he won't be getting that from his (Nick's) daughter.
  • Nick hears Lola thinking, "I haven't had sex in four months. Okay, six."
  • We see Nick and Lola passionately making out on a city sidewalk and she then asks if he wants to come up to her place. He then hears her thinking that if she sleeps with him, he'll think she's a slut or he'll think he could get it whenever he wanted after that.
  • We then see Nick on top of Lola in her bed (he's shirtless, she still has her top on), kissing her (causing her to think that she's going to need the Heimlich maneuver in regards to his tongue down her throat). As he feels her clothed breasts, he hears her think, "That's right, they're attached." Moments later, he hears her think that he lied about the "grande" innuendo he earlier made about his penis size (suggesting that she can feel it while he still lies on top of her). They continue making out, but he then hears her think that she'd wish he'd start doing it already so that she could start faking it.
  • He then gets discouraged and goes into the bathroom and then looks down at his nude penis (which we don't see) and says, "Let's pull this together, buddy. It's what we do." Lola then comes in and both she and we see him sitting nude on the toilet (not using it), but due to the positioning of his body, we only see part of the side of his bare butt. He then tells her that he can do this better and then hears her think, "Wanna bet?"
  • We then see an aerial view of her bed and see her plop down on it, sexually satiated, sweaty, and stating "Amazing" (suggesting they had sex in something other than the missionary position). He then plops down next to her on the bed (also out of breath) and she states that it was like he was more inside her than anybody ever. She then realizes what she said and amends that to mean more inside her head ("You know what I wanted and how I wanted it"). She then adds, "Ladies and gentlemen, Nick Marshall is a sex god!"
  • We see Nick sitting and gabbing with some women from his office and he tells them a joke, asking why men like doing it (having sex) in front of a mirror. He then gives the punch line that objects may appear larger than they actually are. He then talks to a woman about how her husband can't just sit around and then expect her to suddenly turn it on like a light bulb (meaning being ready for sex) when he wants.
  • Nick hears Darcy say the following (after telling herself not to fall for a guy from work), "Oh God, I just looked at his penis" (both are clothed). Nick, who has both hands in his pockets, then somewhat playfully thrusts his pants out and she then thinks, "Oh sh*t, I just looked at it again." Embarrassed, she then leaves the office, averting her eyes.
  • After Alex picks out her prom dress, Nick hears her say, "I can't believe this is what I'll be wearing the last night I'm a virgin." In the next scene, Nick feels that he needs to have a sex talk with Alex while they get something to eat. He says that she might be flirting with the idea of (but can't finish the sentence), so she chimes in "having sex." He then tells her that boys and girls think about it differently (that guys have it just to have it) and that he doesn't want her to feel pressured just because her boyfriend is older than her. She then tells him that her mom had this talk with her when she was eleven. After stating that she knows the facts and info, she adds, "Plus, I promised Cameron I'd do it prom night."
  • Nick and Darcy make out in a club and once outside, he hears her think that she should invite him back to her place. He, however, doesn't want to take advantage of that and just tells her goodnight.
  • Nick tells Morgan that women don't have penis envy and that half of them don't even like them. He then goes on to say that it's men who have such envy because they're obsessed with their own "equipment."
  • Nick and Darcy make out some more, standing up, and fully clothed.
  • Alex tells Nick that she was planning to sleep with her boyfriend after the prom, but decided against it.
  • Darcy shows some cleavage in a low-cut top.
  • SMOKING
  • Nick smokes around five times, while various minor/miscellaneous characters also smoke (one a cigar).
  • Dan tells Nick that he has a new box of Cubans (cigars) and that he should come by later on (Nick agrees, but we never see anything more to do with that).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Nick is divorced from Gigi and that Alex (their daughter) lives with the mother. In addition, we see that Nick and Alex have a bit of a strained relationship (she sees him more like an uncle than a father) and she isn't thrilled when she has to spend two weeks with him.
  • We hear that Darcy is recently divorced.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • What women really want (vs. what men want).
  • The joking manner in which being shocked/zapped by a hair dryer in the tub and a lightning strike are portrayed.
  • Alex having promised her boyfriend (she's 15, he's 18) that she'd have sex with him after the prom and her then changing her mind about that.
  • One of the women at Nick's office is lonely, depressed and apparently suicidal (but she's okay in the end).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Nick slips and falls into the full bathtub and then sees the running hair dryer falling toward him. He nearly gets out of the tub before it hits the water, but gets a shock that knocks him out when he can't get his last foot out in time (all of which is played for comedy rather than suspense or graphic violence).
  • A woman at a meeting grinds her heel down into Nick's shoe (no one else sees her do that) after he brings up one of her recent thoughts and tries to embarrass her with it.
  • Trying to reverse the though-hearing curse, Nick steps out onto his balcony at night holding a hair dryer during a thunderstorm. As such, a bolt of lightning strikes him (but he isn't seriously harmed and like the above scene, it's all played for laughs).



  • Reviewed December 12, 2000 / Posted December 15, 2000

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