What Men Want review – sassy gender-swapped comedy | Comedy films

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Ali Davis (Taraji P Henson, a fabulous physical comedian) is named after the champion boxer Muhammad Ali. An overachieving ball-buster in a houndstooth skirt suit, she is hungry to be made partner at her talent management firm but, as a black female sports agent in a boardroom of white men, comes up against “boys’ club bullshit” and is told by her boss to stay in her lane. She vents to her boxing-coach father (Richard Roundtree of Shaft fame) invoking Michelle Obama: “I go high when they go low,” she says through gritted teeth.

Ali acquires the ability to hear men’s thoughts after an encounter with a psychic her friend “found on Facebook”, played with goofy relish by the singer Erykah Badu, and some dodgy tea (“I thought black people stopped drinking tea after Get Out,” deadpans Ali’s assistant).

It’s a fun idea to gender-flip the premise of Nancy Meyers’ 2000 romcom What Women Want (starring Mel Gibson), and a shrewd decision to recast the film’s protagonist as black, which works both as a kind of middle finger to Gibson’s public image as a bigot, and as a way of skewering racism as well as sexism in the workplace. Cameos from Pete Davidson and 30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan are enjoyable diversions but the jokes themselves are less high-concept, hinging on the men’s thoughts, which are mostly predictable (and predictably crass).

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: What Men Want review – sassy gender-swapped comedy | Comedy films

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