What Women Want is a 2000 American romantic fantasy comedy film written by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake, directed by Nancy Meyers, and starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. The film was a box office success, with a North American domestic gross of $182 million and a worldwide gross of $374 million against a budget of $70 million.
Nick Marshall is a Chicago advertising executive and alpha male, was raised by his Las Vegas showgirl mother. Nick is a chauvinist skilled at selling products to men and seducing women. He expects a big promotion, but his manager, Dan, instead announces that he is hiring Darcy McGuire to broaden the firm's appeal to women. Meanwhile, Nick's estranged 15-year-old daughter, Alex, is staying with him while his ex-wife, Gigi, is on her honeymoon. Nick embarrasses Alex, who resents his over-protectiveness when he meets her boyfriend, Cameron.
Darcy tasks the staff, including Nick, to develop advertising ideas for a series of feminine products she distributes at the staff meeting. While testing a few items at home, Nick falls into his bathtub while holding an electric hairdryer, shocking himself. The next morning, Nick awakens to discover that he can hear women's thoughts. He has an epiphany, realizing that most women, especially at work, dislike him and consider him sleazy. He makes an impromptu visit to his former therapist, Dr. Perkins (who also disliked him), and she encourages him to use his new-found ability to his advantage.
Nick eavesdrops on Darcy and sabotages her ideas to use as his own, but gradually becomes attracted to her. His daughter, Alex, resents her father's years of neglect, but they start to bond while he takes her shopping for a prom dress. After Nick detects that Alex intends to sleep with Cameron the night of the prom, she rejects Nick's attempt at advice.
Nick and Darcy spend more time together, becoming romantic. However, he trumps Darcy's idea for a new Nike ad campaign aimed at women, though he later regrets his actions, especially as it leads to Dan firing Darcy. Nick persuades Dan to rehire Darcy, saying the ad was her idea.
Over time, Nick succeeds in repairing his female acquaintances/relationships, especially those at work. Nick loses his gift during a severe thunder and lightning storm while on his way to see company secretary, Erin, who (telepathic ability revealed) has been contemplating suicide. He offers her a position that she was previously turned down for. When Cameron dumps Alex at the prom for refusing to have sex, Nick finds and consoles her, cementing their newly-repaired relationship. Nick visits Darcy and explains everything. She fires him, but then forgives him.
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Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 54% based on 121 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Even though Gibson is a good sport in his role, What Women Want is a rather conventional, fluffy comedy-romance that doesn't make good use of its premise." On Metacritic the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
For his portrayal of Nick Marshall, Gibson was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor—Comedy/Romance. Hunt won latter award in the Favorite Actress—Comedy/Romance category, while Mark Feuerstein and Marisa Tomei each received a nomination in the supporting categories. It also garnered Tomei a nod for the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, while Ashley Johnson was nominated at the Young Artist Awards.
For his score, composer Alan Silvestri won the ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films, it received a Saturn Award nomination for "Best Fantasy Film" from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA. The film also won the Bogey Award in Platin from the Bogey Awards, Germany. It was also nominated for the Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy from the Casting Society of America, USA. It received the Golden Screen Award in Germany.
In 2009, the website Pajiba published an article claiming that an inside source had told them that producer and scriptwriter Peter Chiarelli had been currently writing a sequel entitled What Men Want, which would reimagine the concept from the viewpoint of a woman who could hear men's thoughts. They also claimed that Cameron Diaz was to star as its lead. As of 2015, no further development news for the rumored sequel has been released, and the film is likely in development hell.
A Chinese remake directed by Chen Daming starring Andy Lau and Gong Li was released in 2011. It was announced in November 2017 that Paramount Players would develop a gender-flipped remake entitled What Men Want, with Taraji P. Henson taking over Gibson's role. It is expected to be released on January 11, 2019.