Okay, so, when I was asked to guest blog for Videogum I panicked. Can I really just rely on tips all day? I should do something special! Then I heard about this movie, Wo Zhi Nu Ren Xin, or ?????, or “What Women Want”… You guys! It’s a 2011 Chinese remake of the 2000 Nancy Meyers movie of the same name starring Mel Gibson and Hellen Hunt! And I rushed out and saw it last night so I could review it today! And you’re reading my review of it, right now! That’s what this post is!
You’re probably familiar with the premise of What Women Want, but I’ll reintroduce it anyway! A macho male ad executive, Sun Zigang, (Andy Lau (Mel Gibson)) thinks he’s getting a promotion but then it gets stolen from him by Li Yilong (Gong Li (Hellen Hunt)) because more consumers are women these days (what?) and the ad agency needs to know What Women Want. So on her first day, in order to get the men at the company in touch with What Women Want, she has all the men to take home tampons and lipstick and tells them to try them out. Gross. Sun gets drunk and pops some birth control pills and tries on some high heels and fish nets and then trips into the bath tub and gets electrocuted by a electric fake fish thing (it’s not shown in the trailer for some reason, but in the real movie when he gets electrocuted there was a CGI skeleton!) and when he wakes up he can hear What Women Want!
Okay! Let me start off by saying, I don’t know Chinese or anything about China. AT ALL. I am a total dumb-dumb. I couldn’t even tell what city this was set in and I kept trying. I also have never seen the original movie. I’m also homosexual and I think understanding other people is hard even when there isn’t a gender gap because the differences between two individuals is way greater than the similarities between people of the same gender which are actually pretty minor. So I kind of think the whole premise of this movie is bogus and it really should more be a movie about being psychic rather than a movie about how men don’t know What Women Want. Also, pretty much every single character in the movie is female anyway, so it pretty much already is a movie about being psychic. The only other male characters serve as a reflection of the protagonist.
Speaking of other male characters, lets talk about the dad! From what I understand, he’s an original character in the Chinese remake. He was actually a pretty good character! They show flashbacks of Sun as a child and he’s watching his father and mother drift apart because his father doesn’t understand What Women Want even though he was convinced he did. Now his mother is dead and his father regrets the fact that he couldn’t understand What Women Want before she died. His father is a singer who claims to be a tenor but constantly has to be reminded that he is actually a baritone (symbolism! Even his voice doesn’t know What Women Want!)
Like with Pierce and Jeff on Community, the dad reflects what will become of the son if he doesn’t achieve his character development at the end of the movie. From what I understand, in the original movie Mel Gibson’s mother was a Las Vegas showgirl? That’s stupid. Good job, China, you totally one upped Nancy Meyers in writing a compelling backstory.
Later in the movie Sun confides in his dad about his powers and his dad is pretty casual about it, he’s like “Huh, you can read minds? You better tell your love interest the truth, it’s almost the end of the fourth act!” Personally I would be kind of freaking out to suddenly learn that magic exists in the world. Also he can hear women’s thoughts over the phone. That’s not how phones work!
So when the movie starts he is setting up dinner dates with every single girl he sees, like a scumbag. He tries to ask this one woman in the elevator out for coffee or wine, but she says she only drinks water. He sees her again later on at his office and he says that she looks good without her glasses on and she says that he also he looks good without her glasses on (haha, that’s a good line, good one, China!) But then it turns out that elevator lady is Li Yilong (Gong Li (Hellen Hunt)) and she’s here to steal his job!
Most of the movie focuses on him using his super powers to steal her advertising ideas and make her fall in love with him. It’s weird, he is clearly falling in love with her and also stealing her ideas at the same time, and never lets up on either. Maybe he’s supposed to be an anti-hero or something? He’s just kind of a jerk for the entire movie. Also they get drunk a lot. She literally said she only drinks water and they even bring it up again and confirm that she wasn’t saying that jokingly, but she has at least six separate glasses of wine on-screen before the movie is over. Chick flicks, man! Always with the wine. We should plan an intervention for Nancy Meyers and call it “Just One More Drink!” which is totally something she would name a movie.
There’s also a subplot about Sun’s ex-wife and daughter. Apparently his marriage fell apart because he didn’t know What Women Want and now that his teenage daughter is becoming a Woman he doesn’t know What she Wants either. When the movie starts he repeatedly says that What Women Want is to get money from men, like whores, but after getting super powers he tells his daughter that What Women Want is companionship and all men want is sex. His daughter shrugs off his warnings and then near the end of the movie she gets taken advantage of by a man and Sun shows up and saves her and it was actually kind of sweet.
Anyway, I don’t know. It’s not like I’m going to tell you to go see Wo Zhi Nu Ren Xin. Why would you see it? There’s no reason for you to see it. I guess when I set out to review this movie I thought it would be hilariously bad and then I could tear it apart but it wasn’t even that bad! I mean it wasn’t great but I had a good time watching it and I was pretty invested in the story.
This always happens to me when I try to see movies ironically. I saw Beverly Hills Chihuahua under the pretense of irony but I ended up loving it sincerely and I keep getting into drunken fights at parties about how it’s actually a good movie and people just unfairly judge it by the terrible CGI trailer of dancing dogs that came before Wall-E but the movie was actually nothing like that! I actually just bought the DVD-only sequel yesterday, I’m not even joking. I also tried to see Jennifer’s Body ironically but it turned out to be a great movie. And then Troll 2 I watched on a date and it was like “haha lets put on a stupid movie to ease the transition into making out” but then I was legitimately engaged in the story I kept trying to follow the plot during what also happened to be my first sexual experience with a woman. That’s not a joke, that’s my life.
I started to feel bad about myself about halfway into the movie. Here I am chuckling at over used public domain music and overtly expositional dialog like a jerk while these nice Chinese couples are trying to enjoy the movie. On Valentine’s Day! Not only was I alone on Valentine’s Day, I was ruining it for other people! I’m like the Valentine’s Day equivalent of the Grinch. Maybe the movie isn’t even that stupid! Maybe, like Sun, the reason I’m single is because I lack the perspective to empathize with others and I view the world from a place of confident cynicism. Some days you ironically see the bad movie and some days the movie ironically sees the bad you.