What Women Want
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What Women Want is a 2000 American romantic fantasy comedy film written by Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, and Diane Drake, directed by Nancy Meyers, and starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt.

The film earned mixed reviews from critics but was a box office success, with a North American domestic gross of $182 million and a worldwide gross of $374 million against a budget of $70 million.

A loose remake, What Men Want, was released in 2019, starring Taraji P. Henson and Aldis Hodge.


Nick Marshall, a Chicago advertising executive, was raised by his Las Vegas showgirl mother. Nick is a chauvinist skilled at selling products to men and seducing women. He expects to get a promotion at the advertising firm Sloane Curtis, but his manager Dan instead announces that he is hiring Darcy Maguire to broaden the firm s appeal to women. Meanwhile, Nick s estranged 15-year-old daughter Alex is staying with him while his former wife Gigi is on her honeymoon with her new husband Ted. Nick embarrasses Alex, who resents his over-protectiveness when he meets her boyfriend Cameron, who is 18 years old.

Darcy tasks the staff, including Nick, to develop advertising ideas for a series of feminine products she distributes at the staff meeting. While testing a few items at home, Nick falls into his bathtub while holding an electric hairdryer, shocking himself, and is knocked unconscious. The next morning, Nick awakens to discover he has a new gift: he can hear women s thoughts. He has an epiphany, realizing that most women, especially at work, dislike him and consider him sleazy. He makes an impromptu visit to his former therapist, Dr. Perkins (who also disliked him), and she encourages him to use his newfound ability to his advantage.

Nick telepathically eavesdrops on Darcy and purloins her ideas to use as his own, but gradually becomes attracted to her. Alex resents Nick s years of neglect, but they start to bond while he takes her shopping for a prom dress. After Nick telepathically finds out that Alex intends to sleep with Cameron the night of the prom, Nick attempts to give her some advice. He tells her Cameron is not interested in her for who she is, just for what he can do with her in bed. Alex, thinking Nick is being over-protective and trying to sabotage her prom, rejects his advice.

Nick and Darcy spend more time together, becoming romantic. However, he steals Darcy s idea for a new Nike ad campaign aimed at women, though he later regrets his actions, especially as it leads to Dan firing Darcy. Nick persuades Dan to rehire Darcy, saying the ad was her idea and is eventually successful.

Over time, Nick succeeds in repairing his relationships with female acquaintances, especially those at work. Nick loses his gift during a severe thunder and lightning storm while on his way to see the company secretary, Erin, who has been contemplating suicide. He offers her a position for which he had previously turned her down; she accepts. When Cameron dumps Alex at the prom for refusing to have sex, Nick finds and consoles her, cementing their newly-repaired relationship. Nick visits Darcy and explains everything. She fires him, but then forgives him, and they share a kiss.


  • Mel Gibson as Nick Marshall: A Chicago advertising executive, who acquires the gift to hear what women are thinking.
  • Helen Hunt as Darcy Maguire: Nick s co-worker who later becomes his love interest.
  • Marisa Tomei as Lola: Nick s former love interest, who works in a coffee shop and is trying to become an actress.
  • Alan Alda as Dan Wanamaker, Nick s boss.
  • Ashley Johnson as Alex Marshall: Nick s daughter, who comes to stay with him, while her mom Gigi and stepdad Ted go on their honeymoon. She has a boyfriend named Cameron, who will dump her, after she declines sleeping with him right away. She at first has a rocky relationship with her dad, but in the end reconciles with him.
  • Mark Feuerstein as Morgan Farwell
  • Lauren Holly as Gigi: Nick s ex-wife, mother of Alex, and just married to Ted; they leave on their honeymoon in the first scenes.
  • Delta Burke as Eve
  • Valerie Perrine as Margo
  • Judy Greer as Erin: A copy girl at Nick s workplace who is always ignored, had been turned down indirectly by Nick for a promotion, and is contemplating suicide.
  • Sarah Paulson as Annie: Nick s secretary, a job limited to running menial errands for Nick, which she sees as degrading, in light of her Ivy League education. She has a boyfriend who lives in Israel.
  • Ana Gasteyer as Sue Cranston
  • Lisa Edelstein as Dina
  • Loretta Devine as Flo
  • Diana-Maria Riva as Stella
  • Eric Balfour as Cameron: Alexandra s much older boyfriend, who is manipulative and abandons the relationship, after she tells him that she is not ready to sleep with him after the prom.
  • Logan Lerman as Young Nick Marshall
  • Robert Briscoe Evans as Ted: Second husband of Gigi and stepfather of Alexandra. He leaves with Gigi at the beginning of the movie to go on their honeymoon.
  • Alex McKenna as Alexandra s friend
  • Bette Midler as Dr. J. M. Perkins (uncredited)


What Women Want made $33.6 million during its opening weekend. The film topped the box office upon opening, dethroning How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Additionally, it had the highest December opening weekend of all time, surpassing Scream 2. This record would last until 2001 when Ocean s Eleven took it. For its second weekend, What Women Want was overtaken by Helen Hunt s other film Cast Away. It went on to make $182.8 million domestically and $374.1 million worldwide.

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 54% based on 122 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site s critical consensus reads, Even though Gibson is a good sport in his role, What Women Want is a rather conventional, fluffy comedy-romance that doesn t make good use of its premise. On Metacritic the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating mixed or average reviews . On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of B+ on an A+ to F scale.

In a lukewarm review, Kimberley Jones of The Austin Chronicle praised Gibson s performance and likened parts of the film to classic screwball comedies, but felt the ending became a dull, drawn-out morality play . Roger Ebert wrote the movie doesn t flow so much as leap from one good scene to another over the crevices of flat scenes in between … it s not boring and is often very funny . Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com was critical: Although What Women Want is being marketed toward women, it does nothing but condescend to them.


For his portrayal of Nick Marshall, Gibson was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor—Comedy/Romance. Hunt won the latter award in the Favorite Actress—Comedy/Romance category, while Mark Feuerstein and Marisa Tomei each received a nomination in the supporting categories. It also garnered Tomei a nod for the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, while Ashley Johnson was nominated at the Young Artist Awards.

For his score, composer Alan Silvestri won the ASCAP Award for Top Box Office Films, it received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Fantasy Film from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, US. The film also won the Bogey Award in Platin from the Bogey Awards, Germany. It was also nominated for the Best Casting for Feature Film, Comedy from the Casting Society of America, US. It received the Golden Screen Award in Germany.



In 2009, the website Pajiba published an article reporting that producer and scriptwriter Peter Chiarelli was working on a sequel, which would re-imagine the concept from the viewpoint of a woman who could hear men s thoughts. Cameron Diaz was courted to star as its lead. The film was released in 2019 as What Men Want with Taraji P. Henson in the lead role.

Foreign market remakes

A Chinese remake directed by Chen Daming starring Andy Lau and Gong Li was released in 2011.

Aga Bai Arrecha! in 2004 is a Marathi film directed by Kedar Shinde from India that is loosely based on What Women Want.

Year 2000
ReleaseDate 2000-12-15
RuntimeMins 127
RuntimeStr 2h 7min
Plot A cocky, chauvinistic advertising executive magically acquires the ability to hear what women are thinking.
Awards Awards, 5 wins & 9 nominations
Directors Nancy Meyers
Writers Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa, Diane Drake
Stars Mel Gibson, Helen Hunt, Marisa Tomei
Produced by Bruce A. Block, Susan Cartsonis, Bruce Davey, Carmen Finestra, Gina Matthews, Stephen McEveety, David McFadzean, Nancy Meyers, Matt Williams
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography by Dean Cundey
Film Editing by Thomas J. Nordberg, Stephen A. Rotter
Casting By Deborah Aquila, Howard Feuer
Production Design by Jon Hutman
Art Direction by Gae S. Buckley, Tony Fanning
Set Decoration by Rosemary Brandenburg
Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick
Makeup Department Jeri Baker, Karen Blynder, Hannah Gibson, Stephanie L. Massie, Beth Buckwalter Miller, Suzi Ostos, Darrell Redleaf-Fielder, Marsha Shearrill, Ronnie Specter, Laine Trzinski, Candy L. Walken, Brad Wilder, Stacy Halax, Kay Majerus, Patricia Messina, Robert Ramos, Sherilyn Stetz
Production Management Karyn McCarthy, Helen Pollak, Nancy Sandberg
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Bruce A. Block, Paula Case, K.C. Colwell, Craig Comstock, Traci M. Lewis, Darin Rivetti
Art Department Chuck Askerneese, Mychael Bates, Bruce A. Block, Ashley Burnham, Michael Crowley, Stacy Doran, David Elliott, Marcus Epps, John P. Goldsmith, Darryl Henley, Craig Jackson, Kristin Frances Jones, Andrew Menzies, Angi Neff, Troy Osman, Tyler Osman, Joel Prihoda, Nathan Schroeder, Brett C. Smith, Easton Smith, John Snow, Patrick M. Sullivan Jr., Jason Sweers, Beck Taylor, John Warnke, Chris Alvarez, Salvador Anaya, Doug Anderson, Chris Barnes, Cary Conway, Emily Crupper, Yann Denoual, Phillip Ellman, Ryan Handt, Allan Johnson, Barry Jones, David Ladish, Steven Ladish, David McKlveen, Andrew Menzies, Tamara Murphy, Andrew Neujahr, Fred O Connor, Tom Osman, Edward V. Pannozzo, Franklin T. Perry, Edward J. Protiva, Eric Reichardt, Carl Robarge, Glenn H. Roberts, Jeff Shewbert, R. Lucas Stewart, Patte Strong-Lord, Alexx Thompson, Cuitlahuac Morales Velazquez
Sound Department Kevin Bartnof, Bob Beemer, Bill W. Benton, Dennis Drummond, Kim Drummond, Kira Edmunds, Christopher Flick, Linda Folk, David Giammarco, Galen Goodpaster, Wayne Griffin, Jeffrey J. Haboush, Kimberly Harris, Jonathan Klein, Diane Lucas, David Macmillan, Michael Magill, Harrison D. Marsh, Cindy Marty, Scott Millan, Sarah Monat, Mark Onks, Fred Peck III, Bryan Pennington, Nico Salvato, Victoria Rose Sampson, Joe Schiff, Randy Singer, Frank Smathers, Greg Steele, Renee Tondelli, Jeffrey A. Williams, Gary Wright, Dan Yale, Robin Zacha, Sean Landeros
Special Effects by Kenneth Van Order
Visual Effects by Robert Cribbett, Tim T. Cunningham, C. Marie Davis, Conny Fauser, Larry Gaynor, Greg Groenekamp, Ken Jones, Suzanne Mitus-Uribe, Gregory Oehler, Cristin Pescosolido, Dave Rand, Kosta Saric, Nelson Sepulveda, Ka Yaw Tan, Jessica Trento, Aaron Dem, Mark Franco, Todd Mesher, Steve Miller
Stunts Lance Gilbert, Joe Bucaro III, Matt Byrne, Lance Gilbert
Camera and Electrical Department James Alden, Mike Bonnaud, Kevin Boyd, Jim Bradfield, Travis Busenbark, Steve Chandler, Joseph P. Connelly, Vincent Contarino, Andrew Cooper, Theodore A. Corso, William Coss, Eric Davidian, Peter Davidian, Terry Dee, Peter J. Donoghue, Malcolm Doran II, Joe Evreniadis, John P. Friday, Mike Gentile, R. Scott Goodrich, Melinda Sue Gordon, Lisa Guerriero, Lawrence Hammer, Mort Hyatt, Timothy Jipping, Tom T.J. Johnson, Walter T.J. Johnson, David Kaiser, Daniel L. Kelly, Eugene B. Kerry, Jay Laws, Michael Laws, Josh Levy, Karl Linde, Jason E. Lord, Mel P. Mack, Glen Magers, Frank Mathews, Blake E. Matthys, Bradley T. Matthys, Mark E. Matthys, Hugh McCallum, Steve Meyers, Tyree P. Miller II, Elizabeth Miller, Frank Montesanto, Luis Moreno, Michelle Morgan, Bill O Drobinak, Angelo Orefice, Atillio Orefice, Keith Orefice, Michael Orefice, Robert A. Preston, Mark Purkart, Michael G. Riba, Thomas J. Ridgen, Gary D. Scott, Don Selsor, Jason Selsor, Richard Sobin, Raymond Stella, Michael Strong, Robert Swander, Joe Tomko Jr., James Topel, Robert Ulland, Ronald L. Vargas Jr., Melvin Butch Von Bulow, Mark Walthour, Scott Wells, Kevin Wisor, Mitchell Bergman, Vidal Cohen, Adam Glick, Peter Graf, William H. Harlow IV, Michael J. Schwartz, Patrick Sheetz, Michael Stumpf, David Vlasits, Monty Woodard, Andy Young
Casting Department Barbara Harris, Kelly O Brien, Mickie Paskal, Mark A. Ridge, Steve Spiker, Rachel Tenner, Meredith Tucker, Wendy Washbrook, Tricia Wood, Darlene R. Hunt, Amanda Koblin, Michele Short
Costume and Wardrobe Department Fran Allgood, Dorothy Baca, Myron Baker, Robin Borman-Wizan, Ann Culotta, Michael Dennison, Kimmie Furlong, Linda Henrikson, Jennifer Jobst, Suzanne McCabe, Eileen McCahill, Susi Campos, James P. Cullen, Shoshana Rubin, Nancy Smytka
Editorial Department Philip Beech, Laura Lee Bong, James Durante, Audrey Evans, Rolf Fleischmann, Carol Littleton, Dana L. Marker, A. Michelle Page, J. Papajoanou, Jim Passon, Randy Trager, Donald Freeman
Location Management Brady Breen, Matthew Cassel, Demetra Diamantopoulos, John Panzarella, Leslie Thorson, Stephen Andrzejewski, Alex Apple, Carrie Goodman, Jane E. Graves, Edward Mazurek, Stefan Nikolov, Brian M. O Neill
Music Department David Bifano, Chris Boardman, Sandy DeCrescent, Robert Fernandez, Christy Gerhart, Bonnie Greenberg, Teri Koide, Conrad Pope, Cassandra Richburg, William Ross, Daniel Schweiger, Andrew Silver, Alan Silvestri, Sally Stevens, Jacqueline Tager, Tom Boyd, Tom Brown, Denise Carver, Christine Cholvin, Peter Erskine, Mark Graham, Jim Hoffman, Michael Lustig, Michael Nomad Ripoll, James Thatcher
Script and Continuity Department Jeanne Byrd, P.R. Tooke, Nancy Meyers
Transportation Department Wendy S. Hallin, James Hogan, John Lybrand, Armand Paoletti, Tom F. Thomas, Michael R. Cairo, Denis Henry Hennelly, Stephen A. Latina, Ron Poniewaz, Dana Schisler
Additional Crew Rachel Aberly, Julie M. Anderson, Angela Athayde, Stacey Berns, Moon Blauner, Robert Cable, Jamie Carmichael, Anna L. Coats, Jan Daly, Robb Earnest, Sharon Ferrol-Young, Melissa Goddard, Anna E. Hayward, David Henri, Amy James, Susan Johnson, Shauna L. Kroen, Stephanie Lococo, Nancy S. Marshall, David McKimmie, Adam Payne, Vail Romeyn, Kevin Sabbe, Richard Simmons, Rebecca Snavely, Damon Tinker, Doug Weaver, Tim Werle, Keith Young, Brent Barrow, Kevin Beard, Julian Brain, George Brown, Jason Corgan Brown, Lisa Cash, Josh Eggebeen, Devon Evans, Greg Ferris, Jenny Fumarolo, Jack E. Herman, Derek J. Marquardt, Michael Mendelsohn, Tom Nicoll, Rick Roesch, Eliza Schneider, Michelle Stevens, Adrienne Swan, Girard Swan, Garson Yu
Thanks Jessica McClintock
Genres Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Companies Paramount Pictures, Icon Entertainment International, Wind Dancer Productions
Countries USA
Languages English
ContentRating PG-13
ImDbRating 6.4
ImDbRatingVotes 210405
MetacriticRating 47
Keywords advertising,telepathy,bare foot woman,heterosexuality,f rated