What Women Want

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What Women Want
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nancy Meyers
Produced by
Written by
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Edited byThomas J. Nordberg
Stephen A. Rotter
Carol Littleton
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15)
Running time
127 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million [2]
Box office$374.1 million [2]

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 earned mixed reviews from critics, but 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. A loose remake, What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson and Aldis Hodge came out in early 2019.



Nick Marshall, a Chicago advertising executive, 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 at the advertising firm Sloane Curtis, 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 former wife, Gigi, is on her honeymoon with her new husband Ted. Nick embarrasses Alex, who resents his over-protectiveness when he meets her boyfriend, Cameron, who is 18 years old.

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, and is knocked unconscious. The next morning Nick awakens to discover he has a new gift: 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 telepathically eavesdrops on Darcy and purloins her ideas to use as his own, but gradually becomes attracted to her. Alex resents Nick's years of neglect, but they start to bond while he takes her shopping for a prom dress. After Nick telepathically finds out that Alex intends to sleep with Cameron the night of the prom, Nick attempts to give her some advice. He tells her Cameron is not interested in her for who she is, just for what he can do with her in bed. Alex, thinking Nick is being over-protective and trying to sabotage her prom, rejects his advice.

Nick and Darcy spend more time together, becoming romantic. However, he steals 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 and is eventually successful.

Over time, Nick succeeds in repairing his relationships with female acquaintances, 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 for which he had previously turned her down; she accepts. 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 – and they share a kiss.



Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 54% based on 122 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." [3] On Metacritic the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [4] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale. [5]


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 the 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, US. 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, US. It received the Golden Screen Award in Germany.



In 2009, the website Pajiba published an article reporting that producer and scriptwriter Peter Chiarelli was working on a sequel, which would re-imagine the concept from the viewpoint of a woman who could hear men's thoughts. [6] Cameron Diaz was courted to star as its lead. [7] The film was released in 2019 as What Men Want with Taraji P. Henson in the lead role.

Foreign market remake

A Chinese remake directed by Chen Daming starring Andy Lau and Gong Li was released in 2011. [8] Aga Bai Arrecha! in 2004 is a Marathi film directed by Kedar Shinde from India.

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