What Men Want -2019 Film

What Men Want is a 2019 American fantasy comedy film directed by Adam Shankman. A loose remake of the 2000 film What Women Want, the plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men's inner thoughts. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Tracy Morgan. The film was released in the United States on February 8, 2019, by Paramount Pictures. It has grossed $42 million worldwide received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Henson's performance but said the film was too safe and offered little new to the genre beyond the gender-switching aspect.



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What Men Want
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAdam Shankman
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Tina Gordon
  • Jas Waters[1]
Based onWhat Women Want
by Josh Goldsmith
Cathy Yuspa
Diane Drake
Music byBrian Tyler
CinematographyJim Denault
Edited byEmma E. Hickox
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • February 8, 2019 (2019-02-08) (United States)
Running time
117 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$42 million[2]

What Men Want is a 2019 American fantasy comedy film directed by Adam Shankman. A loose remake of the 2000 film What Women Want, the plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men's inner thoughts. It stars Taraji P. Henson, Aldis Hodge, Richard Roundtree, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Tracy Morgan.

The film was released in the United States on February 8, 2019, by Paramount Pictures. It has grossed $42 million worldwide received mixed reviews from critics, who praised Henson's performance but said the film was too safe and offered little new to the genre beyond the gender-switching aspect.[3]


Sports agent Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) gets up extra early to rack up clients and stay on top of her co-workers. She is helped by her assistant Brandon (Josh Brener) as he escorts her to her job at Summit Worldwide Management. Ali is confident that she will get a partner promotion that she has been working extra hard for. On the elevator down, Ali sees her handsome neighbor that she refers to as "Captain F*cktastic" (Kellan Lutz). She tries to get his attention but cannot since he's listening to music. She tells Brandon that she wishes she could find out what's going on inside his head.

The pair arrive at SWM, which is mostly male-dominated. Ali gathers around with the other guys for a meeting in which her boss Nick (Brian Bosworth) is getting ready to select the new senior VP, and he tosses a football to his pick. Ali intercepts it, thinking it was for her, but it was to Eddie (Chris Witaske), a guy sitting two seats next to her. Ali confronts Nick to find out why she wasn't promoted. Nick acknowledges that Ali is a hard worker but he says she just doesn't connect well with the other men. Ali storms out and announces to everyone in the building that she WILL sign rising basketball superstar Jamal Barry (Shane Paul McGhie) and prove to others why she deserves the promotion.

Ali goes to spend time with her father Skip (Richard Roundtree) at the boxing gym he manages before going to grab dinner with him. Skip points out a new bartender named Will (Aldis Hodge), whom Ali finds attractive. She stays there to introduce herself, and Will makes her a special cocktail. They go back to his house to have sex, but Ali is overly aggressive. In the morning, she wakes up to find Will's son Ben (Auston Moore) wearing her panties on his head. She realizes she is late for work, and as she runs out, she sees a picture of Will with his wife. Dismayed that he failed to tell her about being married with a kid, Ali leaves quickly.

Ali goes to meet her co-workers as they try to work out a deal with Jamal and his father Joe Dolla (Tracy Morgan), who wants a magazine cover position. However, Ali has to negotiate with basketball legend Lisa Leslie to share with Joe. Lisa refuses, which throws Joe's intentions to work with Ali out the door. To make things worse, Brandon points out to Ali that she has a used condom stuck to her back.

Ali joins her best friends Mari (Tamala Jones), Olivia (Wendi McLendon-Covey), and Ciarra (Phoebe Robinson) for Mari's bachelorette party. The others see that Ali is feeling down, but they agree with her being bad with men. Olivia then mentions that she hired a psychic named Sister (Erykah Badu) to read their fortunes. Ali goes first, and Sister reads her cards to determine Ali's work frustrations and a potentially budding relationship with Will. When Ali mentions her troubles, Sister gives her a foul-smelling tea to drink to help her. Later, the ladies go out to a club to dance. Ali gets drunk and goes to dance, only to end up tripping and knocking herself unconscious.

Ali wakes up in the hospital and hears her doctor's thoughts about drinking and doing cocaine on the job. When she brings it up, he denies saying anything. Ali is greeted by her friends and Brandon, who takes her to work. On the way, Ali hears Brandon's snarky remarks about her before they both realize she can hear his thoughts. She freaks out and becomes overwhelmed when she gets to work and finds that she can only hear the thoughts of men, which are mostly sex-related or revealing some dark secrets. She and Brandon pay Sister a visit later that day to try and fix things, but Sister can't do anything. She suggests to Ali that she can use this to her advantage at work and get ahead of her male colleagues.

The first thing Ali does with her new gift is to find out from her co-worker Kevin (Max Greenfield) that some of the guys are having a secret poker night. Ali shows up at the home of Ethan (Jason Jones) and finds Nick there with Joe and Kevin, as well as Mark Cuban, Grant Hill, and Shaquille O'Neal. Ali reads the guys' thoughts and manages to beat out most of the other guys until it's down to her and Joe. She folds since she figures it will keep her on Joe's good side. He is pleased.

Joe brings Jamal to SWM to hear a pitch from Kevin on how they can market Jamal's status. Kevin puts on a tacky rap video with Jamal's face photo shopped in there, but Ali can see and hear that Jamal doesn't like it, and neither does Joe. She steps up and tries to appeal to Jamal based on what she's hearing from him, but she also totally blasts Kevin's idea. He goes into her office to confront her about how she made him look, but Ali argues that Kevin was the one who voted her down so that Eddie would win, but she then hears Kevin thinking the opposite, and he openly states that he sees how she pulls in numbers and was actually rooting for her. She responds that if she were a man, they would say she is driven, but Kevin thinks that everyone would just say she's a dick.

Ali catches Joe and Jamal on their way out and invites them to a basketball game over the weekend, but Joe wants to spend that time with his family, and he doesn't think Ali is a family person. That's when Will and Ben walk into the place to bring Ali her drivers license that she left at their house, and she sees it as an opportunity to pretend that Will and Ben are her husband and son. This makes Joe trust Ali, and he agrees to go to the game. After returning the license, Ben lets it slip that his mother had died a while back, and Ali feels terrible for assuming Will was a cheater. She tries to make it up by inviting the two of them to the game.

Ali joins the guys at the game in the Skybox and maintains the ruse that Will and Ben are her family. Ben mentions his birthday is coming up and that he wants a race car cake, which Ali promises for him. He then gives her an unexpected hug. Outside the Skybox, Ali introduces Jamal to Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jamal is freaking out internally but maintains his cool as he meets his idol. Joe then tells Ali he seems keen to sign with SWM.

Brandon finds that Ali is talking to Will and makes her agree to do a double date with Mari and her fiance James (Roshawn Franklin). Ali also mentions to Brandon that a guy in the office named Danny (Pete Davidson) is closeted and has a crush on Brandon, and that Brandon should go for him. The two spark an instant connection and agree to start playing Fantasy Football together.

Ali and Will go out with Mari and James to a pool hall. Ali overhears James thinking about trying to have sex with their waitress, and Ali boorishly goes to whack him in the nuts with the pool cue, leading to him sitting the game out and thinking how Mari only hangs out with Ali because Ali can't get a guy. Ali then overhears Will thinking genuinely sweet thoughts about her, and they go back to his place for sex. She eases up on the aggression and agrees to make it a mutual thing, leading to incredible sex for the two of them.

Ali later introduces Will and Ben to Skip. Although Skip seems skeptical of him at first, he warms up to Will as he sees what a dedicated father he is, and that he and Ali have genuine feelings for each other.

Just when things are looking up, everyone at work sees a press conference that Joe is holding to announce that he is taking Jamal to China due to a deal orchestrated by Ethan, who has left SWM for another agency. Nick is pissed, and while he wants to fire Ali, he says he won't do it right away, and Ali figures it's for either sexist or racist reasons, so she dares him to fire her. He then sees Will outside and spills the beans to him that Ali was just using him to make a deal with Joe. Will is hurt and he leaves Ali.

Ali later attends Mari's wedding and is very drunk. She overhears multiple thoughts, especially one from James where he thinks about his affair with Mari's cousin Gabby (Ashani Roberts). As the couple is reading their vows, Ali interrupts and starts to drunkenly talk about her gift. Brandon tries to stop her, saying he is doing it as a friend, but Ali coldly tells him they are not friends and that he is just her assistant. He ditches her after that. Ali reveals James and Gabby's affair, and Gabby confesses apologetically to Mari, saying that James said they were on break. Ali THEN mentions how Ciarra's husband is having an affair with another man. This leads to mayhem as the women start fighting, and another woman grabs a vase and knocks Ali out with it.

Ali wakes up in the hospital again and meets with the same doctor, but now she can't read his thoughts. He does, however, mention that he has done a detox and has gone to rehab to fix himself. Ali then sees that nobody is there for her as she has destroyed all her relationships.

Ali goes to Sister to find out if she can get more tea to regain her gift, but Sister says she drank it all and only heard the voices of Joan Rivers and Tupac (and they do not get along).

Ali first goes to apologize to Brandon at work for how she treated him. After he forgives her, he tells her that he and Danny are now in a relationship. They discuss Jamal, and she realizes she didn't listen to what he really wanted. She goes to find him at the park where he loves to play basketball, and she shoots some hoops with him to convince him to stay in Atlanta where he is happier.

Ali later visits her friends at dinner. They are still mad at her, but she apologizes to them and offers to pay for their Margarita Mondays from now on. They forgive her.

The NBA drafts happen, and Jamal stays in Atlanta. Joe talks to Ali and is thankful to her for making Jamal happy.

Nick calls for another conference with the guys, and he decides to promote Ali. However, she decides she no longer wants to be part of the boys' club, so she is quitting and starting her own agency with Kevin as her partner, and she is taking all her clients with her. She even decides to make Brandon an agent, as he has been wanting it for a while and actually has an impressive knowledge of sports.

Ali goes to a birthday party for Ben and brings him the cake he had wanted. Although Will is still upset with her, Ali apologizes and convinces him to give her another chance. He agrees, as long as they take it slow for now. They kiss.

The film concludes with Ali, Will, and Ben walking together in the park as Ali discusses plans for her agency.



Paramount announced that it would be developing a remake of the 2000 Nancy Meyers film What Women Want.[4] On November 14, 2017, it was announced that Taraji P. Henson would star in the lead role.[5] On February 2, 2018, Adam Shankman signed on to direct the film. Max Greenfield and Tracy Morgan were also added to the cast.[6][7]


Box office

As of February 20, 2019, What Men Want has grossed $39.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $2.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $42 million, against a production budget of $20 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, What Men Want was released on February 8, 2019, alongside The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Cold Pursuit and The Prodigy, and was projected to gross $18–20 million from 2,912 theaters in its opening weekend.[8] It made $6.6 million on its first day (including $1.25 million from Thursday night previews). It went on to debut to $19 million, finishing second behind The Lego Movie 2.[9] In its second weekend the film grossed $10.9 million, finishing fourth.[10]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 46% based on 80 reviews, and an average rating of 5.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Admittedly uneven but easy to like, What Men Want proves a gender-swapped remake can work -- and the odds are substantially improved with Taraji P. Henson in the lead."[11] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an 82% overall positive score and a 69% "definite recommend".[13][9]

The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe praised the film's pacing and jokes, and said the film featured a "predictably satisfying conclusion."[3] Writing for The Washington Post, Sonia Rao gave the film two out of four stars, calling it a "so-so gender-flipped remake" and praising Henson's performance, writing, "It would make a perfectly fine airplane movie. Or maybe save it for the bachelorette party."[3]


  1. Waters, Jas (14 August 2018). "This is my first feature film credit. This was 3 months of my life last fall that taught me A LOT about A LOT. Grateful to be apart of it. Thank you @willpowerpacker #WhatMenWant in theaters in January". Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 "What Men Want (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 "'What Men Want': What Critics Are Saying". The Hollywood Reporter. February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  4. Evans, Nick. "Paramount to develop a remake of "What Women Want"". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 22 Jun 2018.
  5. Fleming Jr, Mike. "Taraji P. Henson to star in Paramount's Remake of "What Women Want"". Deadline. Retrieved 22 Jun 2018.
  6. Kroll, Justin. "'New Girl' star Max Greenfield to join Taraji P. Henson in "What Men Want"". Variety. Retrieved 22 Jun 2018.
  7. Johnson, Zach (14 August 2018). "Taraji P. Henson Cracks the Boys' Club in What Men Want Trailer". EA Online. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  8. D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 5, 2018). "'The Lego Movie 2' Will Put The Box Office Back Together Again With $50M+ Opening". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  9. 1 2 D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 9, 2018). "'Lego Movie 2' Breaks Down To $31M+; 'What Men Want' Solid With $18M+ In Another Blasé B.O. Weekend". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  10. D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 17, 2019). "'Alita's Agita At The Domestic B.O.: James Cameron Production Headed To $37M+ 5-Day". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  11. "What Men Want (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  12. "What Men Want reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 9, 2019.
  13. "Find CinemaScore" (Type "What Men Want" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
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