Assuming you watch the preview before you walk into the film, it’s almost impossible to walk away from this one disappointed. It delivers on its promised storyline — which is admittedly cliché and predictable — while undoubtedly adding some timely sociopolitical satire (perhaps “timeless” is more appropriate, unfortunately — but I’m referring to nods to the #meToo movement and issues centering on women in the workplace, romance, etc.) as well as that comedic flavor only a Taraji P., Tracy Morgan, and Erykah Badu type-trio can bring. The other supporting stars, including Taraji’s love interest Aldis Hodge and her assistant whose name I don’t feel like looking up, do an amazing job too! Taraji’s 3 “best friends” were cool too but moreso filler space for more dominate storylines.
Several pleasant surprises in this film for me. 1) Taraji’s name was Ali! No, not the female “Allie” — the Arab “Ollie,” — she was named after Muhammad Ali by her film father who owned a boxing gym. That made me feel good.
Another pleasant surprise was that the celebrity “cameos” were actually substantial scenes. You’ll have fun seeing Karl Anthony Towns, Shaq, Grant Hill, Marc Cuban, etc. — the scenes they were in were neither short nor insignificant — but to the contrary played a critical role in the narrative arch. To that end, in my Lil Wayne voice, “WHERE IS ERYKAH BADU AT? WHO DAT?”
Every scene Erykah was in was amazing and hilarious. She killed this role and, to my point above, far exceeded my expectations in terms of how significant a supporting role she would play. They even spoiled us with some outtakes after the film (MAKE SURE YOU STICK AROUND AFTER THE CREDITS)
Shouts to the homegirl V whose ears perked when Erykah’s voice boomed back in on our way out… we almost missed it!
This film is eerily well-aligned with Devon Franklin’s new book, The Truth About Men: What Men and Women Need to Know, which I am reading and STRONGLY recommend to anybody even remotely interested in this topic. Although “What Men Want” certainly wasn’t shooting for depth, it’s not just a surface-level substancel-ess comedy — there’s some really good nuggets in there and its clear (to me at least) the writer has a heart for issues of racial and gender discrimination in the workplace. This Breakfast Club Interview on Devon Franklin’s book was trending like #7 or #8 or something on YouTube a couple days ago… It’s really good and pretty short for a BC Interview:
That’s about it. Missing a lot of important shit, per usual, but that’s why it’s a blessing to be a Fake Film Critic.
‘Til the next flick,