What Women Want

What Women Want (2000)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Alan Alda
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurette, Theatrical Trailers

Viewers and critics are split down right in the middle when it comes to Mel Gibson’s latest movie, ’What Women Want.’ While I do not think it is as bad as some people make it, the film is definitely a departure from Mel Gibson’s image, showing us a very funny character, unlike any of the ones in his previous movies.

Gibson plays an advertising creative in Chicago, eager to climb the ladder of corporate success. He is a chauvinistic single and uses up women as they come – and they come aplenty to the handsome, charming man. One day however, he accidentally electrocutes himself in the bathtub and when he awakes he can actually hear what women think. While it drives him crazy at first, he soon realizes that he can use this talent to his benefit and he begins playing his cards very cleverly. Especially in his career, he is able to pick up on his colleagues’ ideas that are unspoken and his success is imminent. He was not prepared to fall in love with his new Creative Director however, the beautiful and lonely Darcy McGuire – played by Helen Hunt – while he keeps stealing her ideas.

Paramount Home Video presents ’What Women Want’ in a stellar 16×9 enhanced widescreen transfer on this DVD. The print is absolutely clean and without any defects, producing a picture that is very rich in detail and full of vibrant colors. Every frame of the movie has been transferred immaculately, making the DVD a beautiful experience to watch. The compression is also without flaws, and no signs on compression artifacts are evident.

The disc features a good and active 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track. Complementary audio tracks in English and French Dolby Surround are also supplied. The surround integration of the tracks is very good and especially when the action moves from indoors to outdoors, it is sometimes striking how the sound stage opens up to bring in ambient sounds from all directions. The dynamic range and wide frequency response ensure the best possible presentation.

Surprising for a Paramount release, the disc even contains a few supplements. A commentary track featuring director Nancy Meyers and production designer Jon Hutman can be found there, making a good impression with their informative and insightful elaborations on the movie. The sensibilities that a female director has brought to the film are explained in more detail, making it obvious, where the tale comes from. You can also find trailers and a short promotional featurette on this release.

’What Women Want’ is not a great movie, but it is great fun. It is predicable – although I was always looking forward to the resolution as to how Gibson’s character is made pay back – and formulaic. Like ’Switch,’ which explored basically the same subject matter in the 80s, ’What Women Want’ remains surfacy and doesn’t have much real depth. Nonetheless, it is a funny piece of entertainment that is good for quite a few malicious laughs. Check it out if you want some light entertainment.