Comedy films

Review of What Men Want – sassy genre-traded comedy | Comedy movies

Ali Davis (Taraji P Henson, a fabulous physical comedian) is named after boxing champion Muhammad Ali. An outperforming bullet-breaker in a houndstooth skirt suit, she’s hungry to partner in her talent management business but, as a black athletic agent in a white men’s boardroom, runs into “boy club bullshit” and being told by his boss to stay in his lane. She confides in her boxing trainer father (Richard Roundtree of Tree glory) invoking Michelle Obama: “I go up when they go down,” she said, gritting her teeth.

Ali acquires the ability to hear men’s thoughts after an encounter with a psychic her friend “found on Facebook”, played with goofy relish by singer Erykah Badu, and sleazy tea (“I thought black people had stopped to drink tea after Get Out,», Insists Ali’s assistant).

It’s a fun idea to reverse the genre of Nancy Meyers’ romcom 2000 premise What women Want (with Mel Gibson), and a wise decision to recast the film’s protagonist in noir, which functions both as a kind of middle finger to Gibson’s public image as a fanatic, and as a means to ‘confuse racism as well as sexism in the workplace. Pete Davidson cameos and 30 Rock‘s Tracy Morgan are nice diversions, but the jokes themselves are less conceptual, relying on men’s thoughts, which are mostly predictable (and predictably rude).