Adam Shankman is best known for judging Dancing with the Stars but he’s directed nearly ten feature-length films, from the early 2000s (A Walk to Remember, The Wedding Planner) to more recent (Rock of Ages). In remaking Nancy Meyers’ What Women Want, he pushes Taraji P. Henson into the center of a shift in understanding the differences in genders.
Sports agent Ali Davis (Henson) wants to break through the glass ceiling at the sports agency, SWM, where she works, constantly frustrated by the being passed over for partner. When a chance encounter opens her mind up to the thoughts men are having around her, she freaks out – until she realizes she might be able to use the power to land the biggest basketball prodigy about to hit the NBA. Leveraging what she knows, that no one else knows, she tries to lure in the player via his helicopter parent father (Tracy Morgan).
Special features get Shankman’s commentary, deleted scenes with his perspective, a gag real, a featurette on “The Dream Team” (the cast), “Flipping the Narrative,” “Poker Night,” “What DO Men Want,” “Ali + Athletes” (the cameos by real players), and “Sister Spills the Tea Infomercial” (with Erykah Badu).
The cast truly has some funny moments, thanks to its cast, even beyond Henson and Morgan. Josh Brener is funny as Ali’s assistant, while Max Greenfield and Wendi McLendon-Covey add some humor, too. Lisa Leslie, Shaq, Mark Cuban, Grant Hill, and Karl-Anthony appear as themselves, with small roles for Brian Bosworth, Kellan Lutz, and Richard Roundtree. To be fair, it’s all set up for Henson to shine – and shine she does.
While clever at times, this is ultimately a life lesson we can see coming: breaking into the boys’ club isn’t everything Ali thinks it will be. None of us ever get what we’re looking for when we try too hard to fit in.