Movie Review: What Women Want

By Candace Lee

From the witty movie title “What Movie Want” to the playful music played during the beginning credits, movie viewers should know they are in for a comedic and emotional roller coaster ride, riddled with romantic misunderstandings, situational and circumstantial antics and gender clashes. The movie fulfills most of the viewer’s expectations: the film follows womanizing, corporate advertising executive Zigang Sun (Andy Lau) who, from appearances, is living the ultimate bachelor lifestyle, being the man every woman wants and the man every man wishes he was. However, behind the shallow flirtations with women and inflated grandeur, he leads his life with three fractured relationships – with his ex-wife, father, and daughter – which he pointedly ignores in favor of securing a promotion.

Despite this, he does not receive the promotion to be creative director and the position is given to Yilong Li (Gong Li), a female executive hired by the faceless board of directors in the hopes a headstrong female executive will help appeal to the female market. Affronted, Zigang cross-dresses in a ridiculous attempt to understand the opposite sex and is rewarded for his efforts with a terrible accident, which grants him the power to read women’s minds.

What follow is a predictable plot driven by over-the-top comedy and two leading characters bound to each other simply because the story has already been labeled a, “romance”. The chemistry between Andy Lau and Gong Li is barely believable; their relationship progression is smoothly glossed over through several musical montages. Zigang’s character gains no sympathy and little empathy from his chauvinistic and self-serving actions: his misfortunes seem to be the direct result of what he himself has sown, and knowing this, the movie does little to hit the emotional high and low points, and gives the viewer little satisfaction when he is at last honest with himself and others and “redeems” himself in the movie’s resolution.

Ultimately, “What Women Want” is a lighthearted romantic comedy that has to work for its occasional laughs and piece together a poor relationship between a headstrong female rival that turns out to be anything but and a static male lead that more often than not plays the part of the clown.

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