Henson Scores Laughs in What Men Want

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What do men want? Apparently, a ball buster of a woman who can bring in the profits while staying in her own lane. Taraji P. Henson shows off her considerable acting chops in “What Men Want,” an amusing parody inspired by a Mel Gibson movie entitled “What Women Want.”

Henson's role as Ali Davis, is that of the only female sports agent in an sports agency dominated by men. In having to compete for and advance her career she has unwittingly taken on the tough characteristic of a man. Not her fault really because after the death of her mother, her father (Richard Roundtree), an ex-boxer, teaches Ali boxing skills in order to toughen her up. Ali's combative spirit is comically demonstrated in a bedroom scene where she plays the aggressor with Will, a bartender she initially picks up for a one-night stand, played by Aldis Hodge.

Convinced she is finally going to be awarded for her hard work, and having been told she was up for promotion as partner, her hopes are dashed when to her humiliation she is passed over for someone younger and male. Confronting her boss portrayed by Brian Bosworth, about having deserved the promotion, he placates her but lets her know she has not brought in clients from the NFL, NBA or MLB leagues. Indicating Ali does well but she should stay in her own lane. This both angers Ali and makes her insecure. Interestingly, while seeking her own advancement, she crushes the ambitions of her assistant (Josh Brener) who aspires to be an agent himself.

Although, worth seeing, the movie is lengthy and rather formulaic with few surprises except for the fact that after seeing a psychic played by Erykah Badu, and drinking bitter tea, Ali develops a psychic gift that enables her to read the minds of men. She takes that to full advantage via attempting to win over top draft pick Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) as a client.

As always, comedian Tracy Morgan adds his special brand of comedic talent as the father to Jamal Barry, who Ali's agency is trying to sign as a client.  However, discovers the agency must first court his unpredictable dad. While Ali promises she will be the one to sign Jamal, she underestimates how dicey emotions can be when dealing with Jamal's father and her own personal love relations. The gift eventually teaches her to consider the human equation rather than her personal ambitions.

Directed by Adam Shankman, the movie is peppered with sports figures such as Shaquille O'Neal, Lisa Leslie, Grant Hill and Karl Anthony Towns in cameo roles.

“What Men Want” will be in AMC theaters starting Friday, February 8, 2019.

 

 

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