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What Women Want(2000)
Nick Marshall, a Chicago advertising executive, gets a whole new outlook on life when a fluke accident gives him the ability to read women's minds. At first, this "gift" provides Nick with way too much information, but he begins to realize that he can use it to good effect, especially when it comes to outwitting his new boss, Darcy Maguire. In spite of his best efforts to finesse Darcy, he soon finds himself falling in love and truly understanding what women want.
For more about What Women Want and the What Women Want Blu-ray release, see What Women Want Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on January 30, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Ashley Johnson, Judy Greer
Director: Nancy Meyers
» See full cast & crew
What Women Want Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, January 30, 2009
A man's man becomes the ladies man in Nancy Meyers' lighthearted comedy "What Women Want" (2000). The transformation isn't easy, but after it is completed the main character, played by Hollywood star Mel Gibson, earns the heart of the one he desires in a manner that will likely convince a few desperate chaps to give expoliating a try. Courtesy of UK-based distributors Icon Home Entertainment.
Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson, Payback), a cocky male chauvinist with a terrific advertising gig in the Windy City, is blessed with a remarkable gift after he accidentally electrocutes himself in the bathroom of his luxurious apartment – he hears what women think. At first, Nick is terrified, but confusion, fear and anger are quickly replaced with delight and euphoria after he scores a few impressively big wins over the newly hired Darcy Maguire (Helen Hunt, Pay It Forward). Things become rather complicated when Nick falls madly in love with Darcy.
Nancy Meyers' What Women Want isn't likely to change the two sexes' stance on the myriad of themes her film addresses. Some of the big ones - trust, communication and sex - are garnished with the right dose of humor to take the edge off, but there are still more than a few awkward jabs here that hyper-sensitive viewers on both sides would find difficult to swallow.
Gibson's character transformation is undoubtedly what makes What Women Want worth watching. From his impressive flirts with a coffee-shop employee (Marisa Tomei, Only You), to his sudden meltdown after a suicidal office worker (Judy Greer, Without Charlie) gets in his way, to the unplanned romance with his direct competitor Darcy Maguire, the once cocky and disrespectful man is certainly quite effective with his actions.
Seen strictly as a romantic film, however. What Women Want is more miss than hit. In fact, aside from the lovely dinner scene where Hunt finally succumbs to Gibson's charm and they kiss, the rest of the film is relatively unsuccessful in sustaining the romantic vibes the above mentioned scene is infused with. Still, the manner in which Hunt's defensive instincts are defeated will probably warm more than a few lonely hearts.
Gibson's performance is stellar but, arguably, too overpowering. His protracted solo scenes make it nearly impossible for Hunt to emerge as a respectable opponent, and the narrative certainly hits a few bumps along the way as a result of that. Ironically, this was also one of the key reasons why another Gibson comedy, Bird on a Wire (1990), did not please the critics when it premiered – Goldie Hawn, though a key character in the film, did not spend as much time in front of the camera as Gibson did.
What Women Want, however, offers a fairly balanced look at the two sexes' insecurities. Frankly, you would be hard-pressed not to admit that a lot of what is caricatured here isn't what makes men and women suspicious of each other. In fact, I would argue that there are plenty of themes the film approaches lightheartedly which, if used in a slightly different script, would make for a terrific drama.
Technically, the film does plenty of things right. Cinematographer Dean Cundey has managed to capture a lot of Chicago's glitzy allure but the intimate scenes are lensed beautifully as well. The pacing is also consistent, though it feels like some of the intentionally sexist pranks could have been trimmed a bit. Nevertheless, Nancy Meyers' What Women Want is genuinely entertaining and as harmless as it looks.
What Women Want Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Nancy Meyers' What Women Want arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of UK-based Icon Home Entertainment.
The transfer the UK distributors have secured for What Women Want is healthy. Blacks, yellows, reds, blues, and whites are all natural-looking (the outdoor scenes in particular look lovely) and not artificially boosted. Furthermore, contrast and detail appear to be well-handled even though the film often looks a bit soft. Edge-enhancement is not an issue of concern, but occasionally I was able to spot its presence (a good example would be the scene where Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt fall for each other in the executive room). DNR-alteration is also not something you would have to worry about. Icon's print is very natural-looking, and I most definitely did not detect any traces of artificial intrusion to report here. This being said, there is a mild but consistent dose of video noise. It is hardly something that would detract from your viewing experience, but those of you with very large screens may spot its presence here and there. Still, What Women Want looks good on Blu-ray, and I certainly do not have a problem recommending it. For the record, I did not detect any debris, specs, or dirt. (Note: Even though this Blu-ray disc is marketed as Region-B, it is in fact Region-Free. Therefore, you will be able to play it in your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
What Women Want Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 5.1. What Women Want may not be a film with a terrific audio structure, but the gap in quality between the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is certainly noticeable. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is crisp and potent – the rear channels get a good dose of activity, the dialog is well balanced with Alan Silvestri's soundtrack, and balance is plausible (the bass is hardly a factor here). Overall, this is a very densely-mixed track, which is quite surprising given that What Women Want is far and away from being a sonic powerhouse. This being said, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track clearly does not match the nuanced enhancements the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track offers. As generic and cliché as it may sound, I personally did not detect the same type of depth on the Dolby Digital 5.1 track that I noticed on the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. Finally, both tracks appear to be healthy – I did not spot any hissing, cracks, or specks. For the record, optional English HOH subtitles are provided for the main feature.
What Women Want Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
First there is a standard "Behind the Scenes" featurette where cast and crew members share their thoughts on film. They also offer some quite entertaining comments on the inability of the two sexes to overcome certain stereotypes that What Women Want focuses on. Next is a collage of interviews titled "A Look Inside" where Nancy Meyers, Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Ashley Johnson, and Marisa Tomei further elaborate on the characters they play in the film as well as on the "universal" strengths and weaknesses of the two sexes. Finally, there is a director's commentary with Nancy Meyers and production designer Jon Hutman. (For the record, all of the extras are in standard-def PAL format, so unless you have a TV that accepts native PAL signal, or a player that does an on-board PAL-NTSC conversion, you will not be able to access them).
What Women Want Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
What Women Want is a genuinely entertaining film that focuses on specific stereotypes that have become unbearable for the two sexes. Comedy and romance are mixed to perfection, though there are more than a few clichés that pop up here and there that could have been avoided. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Icon Home Entertainment, is of good, but not spectacular, quality. Recommended.
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