Review by Laura Richards
An update of ‘What Women Want’ that nobody asked for is (thankfully) minus Mel Gibson and flip-reversed for the Me Too generation. The protagonist in this fairly predictable but nonetheless enjoyable comedy is power-dressing sports agent Ali Davis (the magnetic Taraji P Henson) who – after sharing tea with psychic ‘Sister’ Erykah Badu at a bachelorette party then getting knocked out by an inflatable cock – can suddenly read the minds of men.
Trapped in a male-dominated world, she chooses to harness her newfound powers in the boardroom as well as the bedroom. For the latter – let’s just say you’re in for one of the best sex scenes on screen in a while. And in the former instance, the timing plays in her favour: after failing to make partner at her ‘boys’ club’ firm she’s suddenly a key player at the table in a bid to get rising basketball star Jamal Barry on the company books. The main obstacle is Barry’s megalomaniac father, Joe ‘Dolla’ Barry, played to a tee by typecast dummy Tracy Morgan, whose inner monologue could be from Donald Trump’s head.
While his train of thought is simplistic, and while many of the men Ali encounters have a one-track mind for willies and boobies (and farts, don’t forget farts), some portrayals are more sensitive observations of the fragility of masculinity (nothing too heavy, obvs). Going on the same narrative trajectory as Gibson before her, Ali inevitably learns that some men want more than to ‘get paid and get laid’ – plus a bit about her own sense of self-worth along the way. Empowering stuff.