The heart of this romantic comedy has been a subject of debate since Eve innocently wondered what was for dinner and decided an apple didn’t sound all that unreasonable. So a movie attempting to define once and for all What Women Want understandably seems ripe with possibilities, as does the idea of casting a rakish charmer like Mel Gibson, a guy ladies everywhere have longed to domesticate.
As a suave, cocky ad exec, Gibson enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to demonstrate the ways a freak accident can transform the ultimate man’s man into a sensitive dream hunk when he’s given the ability to read women’s minds. His cavalier experiments with female nuisances like waxing and panty hose should stand as lessons to XYs everywhere. But Gibson’s Nick Marshall is more of an old school chauvinist than the self described ”least politically correct guy in the universe,” thereby sapping some of the charge from his transformation. The lite script also fails to recognize that women don’t necessarily want the only female character with any real substance to be a brainy and beautiful career woman (Helen Hunt) who’s sacrificed everything for success.
While occasionally clever and spirited, this overly polished comedy bites off a little more than it can chew. And, on video at least, why would women really want a housebroken, more mellow than mad Mel when they can choose the smoldering foreign correspondent of ”The Year of Living Dangerously,” the lovelorn rebel of ”Braveheart,” or even the jaded loner of ”The Road Warrior”?