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Laura Reviews: What Women Want
I saw What Women Want the other night, and I'll tell you why. Two friends and I had free movies passes and the only other thing that was playing in the next ten minutes was Thirteen Days, the thrilling White House adventure. Whatever. I hate politics. Wild generalizations of women as a single, like-minded, ever-puzzling unit? Now that I think we can all get behind!
Anyway, if you're reading this in the future and you've already blocked the ads for this gem out of your memory, the basic plot is, Mel Gibson is a chauvinistic jerk who through a freak accident gains power to read the minds of all women. He starts out using his power for evil, to steal ideas for his advertising firm from a female co-worker (Helen Hunt), but then Helen loses her job because of it, and he's started to fall in love with her because, you know, she has breasts, and he learns to use his power for good and gets her her job back and she fires him but then she doesn't so it's all okay.
I have a few questions that I felt were not answered adequately in the film.
1. How did he get the damn power in the first place? In the movie, he shocks himself with a hairdryer in the bathtub, falls unconscious from the blast, and wakes up with the power. It is my opinion, however, that did the power to read minds come from shocking onesself, it would probably have already been discovered.
2. How was the power revoked? The power ended after he got shocked again (of course). But between the first shock with the blowdryer, and the power-ending shock with electric lines, he purposely shocked himself again with the blowdryer in a vain attempt get rid of the power on his own terms. So why didn't it work? The easy answer is because he hadn't learned his lesson yet, but if that was what the power was waiting for before it went away, you'd think it could have gone away on its own without help from an electrical storm.
3. Why only women? Is there some difference between the brainwaves of men and women?
4. What constitutes a woman? Can he read the mind of transgendered people? F to M, or M to F? Pre-operative or post-op? Can he read the minds of little girls? The youngest girl he read the mind of was his 15-year-old daughter, but she could be considered a young woman. We know he can read the minds of woman animals (a power I felt was underexploited in the film) because he read the mind of a female poodle. It's worrying that there's a way in which female humans are closer to female dogs than male humans.
5. What are thoughts? The women's thoughts in the movie are always in coherent sentences, one at a time. Does he hear the thoughts in this format, or is it just put in this format for the viewer? It's possible that he is able to sense feelings in a way which is difficult to present to the audience. If he does hear the thoughts the same way the viewer does, however, it seems hard to believe that all the women he runs into are concentrating on one thought at a time, each in complete sentences. Sometimes you're not thinking any coherent thought--you just have a feeling or idea. Some of the things he hears people thinking, they wouldn't be thinking that clearly.
6. Would he be able to understand thoughts in another language? This is related to the other question. Does he sense the feeling and meaning associated with the thought, or does he hear the sentence the person is forming in her head?
7. What do women want? You may find it hard to believe, but even after seeing this movie, I still don't know.
There were a few questions that we did find answers to, as well. I will present them here as you may not have picked up the answers yourself when you watched.
During the movie one of my friends asked why Mel Gibson had so many wrinkles and Helen Hunt didn't. It's actually established earlier on in the movie that all women use anti-wrinkle cream. So there you go.
There's another part where the daughter is at the prom, crying in the bathroom because her date dumped her. My friend asked why the girl's friends weren't comforting her. In case you come up with the same question, the answer is that's she's only in tenth grade--she was probably one of the only sophomores asked to the prom. (That also explains why her friends were helping her pick out a dress, but were not concerned with their own prom attire.) It was a load off all our minds when we realized that she had two more proms to make up for this crappy one.
Also, there's a part where Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt dance around to Frank Sinatra music which seems to be coming through the French doors. It would be stupid to keep a stereo or record player out on the balcony where it's exposed to the elements, when it would fit just fine in the room; anyway, there was no plug or cord in sight. So where was the music coming from?
The answer is simple: the Frank-Sinatra powered textile factory just down the road. It's just like a regular textile mill, but instead of smoke billowing out of the smokestacks, it's musical notes which together form Frankie's crooning. That's the reason Helen Hunt was able to afford such a big, nice apartment, too: real estate is cheap near the factory because most people don't want to listen to Frank Sinatra all the time.
Anyway, this movie isn't worth an hour and fifty minutes of your life. The only good thing about it is if you go to see it with your lover you won't mind spending the first twenty minutes arguing in the lobby & you won't mind if it has bad memories associated with it.