Mel Gibson Delves Into the Minds of WomenHow many times do we clueless men find ourselves asking what we did wrong when our girlfriend or wife is angry at something we said, or
perhaps more specifically, what we did not say? In my experience often, very often. And so in the midst of my daily faux pas with womankind, this movie , "What Women Want," came as a delightful
– dare I say. . . eye-opening – surprise for the male audience, and as a cute love story for our dates.
Mel Gibson plays Nick Marshall, a slick advertising executive in the heart of America's advertising world, shy-town, a.k.a. the windy city (Chicago). When the advertising agency Nick works for passes him by for promotion in favor of a woman, it becomes his mission to outdo his new female boss, Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt).
According to the president of the company, played by Alan Alda, Nick isn't given the promotion because he simply lacks the ability to "get inside the female psyche (that incidentally represents the
majority of American consumers)," and make advertisements targeted towards them.
In a freak accident, Nick gains the ability to hear women's thoughts, allowing him to get into their psyche more than he could have ever hoped for. Thinking at first the gift is a curse, Nick soon realizes the awesome potential of such a power and uses it to his advantage, especially in getting rid of his boss. However, the longer he has the gift, the more he learns about women and as a result of his newfound insight into their thoughts and feelings
becomes more sympathetic in ways he was incapable of previously.
Thus, Nick begins to develop new and more sincere interactions with women at work, his estranged teenage daughter and last, but not least, his boss.
The idea behind this love story was sheer brilliance and exemplifies director Nancy Meyers'insight into the intricacies of men/women relationships as shown in her other movies as well, including "Private Benjamin," "Irreconcilable Differences" and "Father of the Bride (Parts I and II)."
The premise for this movie is best expressed by the American essayist and novelist Susan Son-tag, who wrote, "To a woman, the most attractive thing about a man is his feminine qualities, while for a man the masculine qualities of a woman are appreciated," meaning that while we men love a woman who can talk about sports, bake a pie and is an independent money-earner, a woman likes a man with whom she can chat like one of the girls. Of course, there are many among us who would dissent from this opinion, and at the risk of gener-alizing about the sexes, Meyers has Mel Gibson comically give life to this idea. He plays a refreshingly different character from those of "Brave-heart,""Payback" and "The Patriot," in which he continually plays the single-minded, blood-pumping avenger. In this movie Gibson plays a big softie, who even throws in a bit of song and dance that Fred Astaire would've been proud of. The chauvinist side of Nick's character was a little unconvincing, partly because Gibson is the hero of every movie in which he stars and thus likable to the viewer in any role. Instead we are asked
to assume this as a basic fact, based on what female characters say about him behind his back, which isn't as convincing as seeing clear examples.
Helen Hunt was also good in her role as the corporate boss, but Marisa Tomei stole the show playing a flirtatious, yet wounded and slightly neurotic waitress. She will probably receive a nomination for best supporting actress, and Gibson has already received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a comedy or musical. Though predictable at times, this movie was nonstop on laughter and good to warm up any evening. My advice to the guys: tuck a salami under your arm, grab a bottle of wine, put a rose between your teeth
and show your girlfriend just how romantic you can be. Oh, and be sure to take her to see this movie.
by Joseph Kim