Taraji P. Henson Transitions Into Comedy

Taraji P. Henson stars in this gender-flipped remake of Mel Gibson’s 2000 comedy What Women Want. Henson’s What Men Want sees the Empire star play a high-powered sports agent that suddenly develops the power to read men’s thoughts. Tracy Morgan co-stars as the meddling dad of a top NBA prospect. The fairly raunchy comedy by director Adam Shankman is made for its target female demo, hoping to follow such hits as Bridesmaids.

What Men Want also stars Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Erykah Badu, and Max Greenfield. Produced by BET Films, this is a comedy going for a slightly older audience.

The simple plot sees top-notch sports agent Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) passed over for promotion at her male-dominated agency. Frustrated, Ali declares she’ll sign the next top NBA prospect over her rival co-workers. The problem is the prospect’s father, Joe “Dolla” Barry. Joe controls his son’s future. Tracy Morgan plays Joe as an obvious comedic riff off LaVar Ball, father to Lakers’ guard Lonzo Ball.

Things aren’t going well for Ali’s career when she has a wild night on the town with her girlfriends. She meets a sketchy psychic (Erykah Badu) who gives her a potion. When Ali wakes up the next morning, she has developed the ability to hear men’s thoughts. Now that she can hear what the men around her are thinking, her career and love life get put on the fast track.

…lightweight and formulaic, hitting predictable refrains and always taking the easy way out

What Men Want is lightweight and formulaic, hitting predictable refrains and always taking the easy way out. There’s a forgettable romantic sub-plot with Ali meeting a handsome single father that gets wrapped up in a ruse for her career. Probably the most genuine element is Ali’s close relationship with her father. A daddy’s girl at heart, Ali bonds with him through his love for boxing.

The movie unexpectedly relies a great deal on lead actress Taraji P. Henson for laughs when most of the supporting cast are actual comedians known for their acting. She’s not bad in the role but it’s still up in the air whether comedy is her true calling. The rest of the cast is more or less part of an ensemble around Henson, including Tracy Morgan. The comedian delivers his usual entertaining brand of comedy, even if he’s not enough by himself to save the entire movie.

The NBA is definitely a featured background element in the movie. Commissioner Adam Silver plays himself in a draft scene, while former NBA players like Shaq and Grant Hill appear playing a game of poker. Current star Karl-Anthony Towns plays himself in a cameo. Even Mark Cuban pops up.

I’m not sure anyone was really calling for a remake of What Women Want barely two decades later. Flipping the genders isn’t entirely unique or original for the industry. What Men Want may find a following for its shallow comedy and gender inversion, but it’s predictable and rather trite.


What Men Want from Paramount looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray. It is a nigh perfect presentation in sparkling 1080P resolution. Shot in greater than 2K resolution with Arri Alexa cameras, this is the type of video content that should have seen UHD.

Razor-sharp clarity and definition pour from each scene. Inky black levels and a perfect contrast help the rich digital color timing with excellent flesh-tones. The 2.39:1 scope presentation looks great for a comedy and approaches videophile status.

The nearly two-hour movie is encoded in high-bitrate AVC on a BD-50. Paramount always deliver some of the best AVC encodes on the format and What Men Want continues this tradition. Even the night club scenes, always tricky with their varied lighting, have no blemishes. Texture and detail are very high, especially in close-ups.


With a soundtrack boasting songs from 2 Live Crew and James Brown, the energetic Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio is at its best when delivering music. Excellent bass support and pristine clarity help create a powerful sonic presentation when necessary. Much of the comedy is still driven by dialogue, which limits the surround mix’s best moments to a few adventurous scenes. The best example being when Ali first reads minds, the voices fly all around her as she walks through a plaza. For a comedy, it’s a fine soundtrack with real punch.

German, French and Spanish dubs come in 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. There are 17 different subtitle options, everything from English SDH to Korean. They appear in a white font inside the 2.39:1 presentation. This is a Blu-ray clearly authored to be enjoyed on a global basis.


The Paramount comedy comes with assorted deleted scenes and a commentary, among other featurettes. First pressings include a slipcover. The Blu-ray and DVD combo set includes a digital copy good on iTunes and Vudu in HDX.

Audio Commentary – Director Adam Shankman covers the usual topics in a sensible, well-thought discussion of his movie.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (31:08 in HD) – With each scene getting introduced by director Adam Shankman.

Gag Reel (04:53 in HD) – Bloopers from filming the movie.

The Dream Team (15:37 in HD) – A featurette celebrating the movie’s intended diversity.

Flipping The Narrative (03:32 in HD) – A brief look at how the movie subverted expectations by flipping the gender roles from the Mel Gibson movie.

What Do Men Want? (04:29 in HD) – Cast and crew members answer in short clips.

Poker Night (03:51 in HD) – Behind the scenes of the celebrity poker game scene.

Ali + Athletes (02:53 in HD) – The real athletes in the movie are covered.

Sister Spills The Tea Infomercial (01:39 in HD) – The sketchy psychic character’s infomercial.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

What Men Want
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Tracy Morgan can’t save this generic, lackluster comedy aimed at women.

User Review
2.5 (2 votes)

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