Women really want men to understand them, but when a man that has been living the stereotypical perfect dude’s life suddenly gets the ability to hear the thoughts of every female he encounters, it makes for some great funny moments, and really opens his eyes to the other half of the world around him. This is the story of Nick Marshall (Mel Gibson), an advertising executive in Chicago that always has the perfect angle to sell to the men. He’s the go-to-guy when you want to sell auto parts, beer, and any of those products that are so commonly seen when we watch sports on the weekends. The thing is Nick’s mindset is still in 1970s Las Vegas, which is where he grew up. His mother was a showgirl, and often had mob bosses and professional gamblers as her boyfriends. So even twenty years later, Nick still has this view of women, and he sees them as just something to use, either professionally or personally. He is in for a very rude awakening when a new executive is hired on at his firm, in the position he was favoured to be promoted to.
Nick’s life revolves around many women, his ex-wife, Gigi (Lauren Holly) and teenage daughter, Alex (Recess’ Ashley Johnson). Many of his co-workers, the brilliant, but unchallenged assistant, Annie (Sarah Paulson), the vapid secretaries Eve (Delta Burke) and Margo (Valerie Perrine), and many others in his firm. Add in the cute barista, Lola (Marisa Tomei), the woman Nick is currently hot for, and he is in a sea of estrogen every day, but when the new creative director, Darcy Maquire (Helen Hunt) shows up, he and the rest of his staff are given an assignment to find a creative ways to sell everyday products to women. In the pink box are lipstick, hair removal sugar, control top pantyhose, hair mousse, and other items. Nick takes the box home, and muses on the lipstick a bit, thinking of ways to sell it while listening to his Vegas RatPack music, but he is still getting the images that appeal to men. Since his daughter is staying with him for the two weeks while his ex is on her honeymoon with her new husband, he searches for some chick music, and finds some Meredith Brooks. He soon tries out just about everything in the box, and his daughter walks in on him. She is with her boyfriend, Cameron (a very young Eric Balfour), and the encounter becomes an embarrassing moment for all of them. As Nick is trying to explain to Alex about why he is doing what he is doing, he knocks over an open jat of bath beads, and they spill onto the floor. At this time, he is also holding a hair dryer. He slips on the beads and lands in the full bathtub, and lets loose of the dryer. The hairdryer flies up, and back down towards him, and he does not get out of the tub in time. Thus the combination of electricity, water, and health and beauty items combine to give Nick Marshall what is both a blessing and a curse. He now has the ability to hear the thoughts of every female he encounters, even the animals, and he is really not liking the results. He even goes to see his old marriage counselor, Dr. J.M. Perkins (Bette Midler) to find out what happened and how to be rid of it. She urges him to enjoy is new gift, since now he can find out the one thing even Freud could not. What women want.
These women he comes into contact with every day, like his maid Stella (Diana Maria Riva), are insulting him inwardly, and his doorwoman, Flo (Loretta Devine) sees him as nothing but beefcake. Later on, he learns to use this ability to get into Darcy’s head and steal her ideas for the really big accounts, taking advantage of her in the worst way, and she does not even know it.
While this movie moved quickly in the first hour with the many crazy things that could happen to a man such as Nick, the last hour moved far more slowly, focusing on Nick’s relationship with his daughter, Lola, and Darcy. It is when he stops the attempted suicide of an office file clerk, Erin (Judy Greer) that he loses his power in an electrical storm, but makes things better for her by offering her a position as a copywriter on his team. The movie really got away from its focus on being the Stranger in a Strange Land, but hopefully it made an impact on the viewers in how to see more than what is on the surface of those around you. There is a remake that came out two years ago, starring Hong Kong hottie, Andy Lau. Hopefully, this version moves at a faster pace than the original.
I give this film a Musing review of