What Women Want

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 starring Taraji P. Henson and Aldis Hodge came out in early 2019.

What Women Want
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNancy Meyers
Produced by
Written by
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byThomas J. Nordberg
Stephen A. Rotter
Carol Littleton
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • December 15, 2000 (2000-12-15)
Running time
127 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$70 million[2]
Box office$374.1 million[2]


Nick Marshall is a Chicago advertising executive and alpha male, who was raised by his Las Vegas showgirl mother. Nick is a chauvinist skilled at selling products to men and seducing women. He expects a big promotion at the advertising firm Sloane Curtis, but his manager, Dan, instead announces that he is hiring Darcy McGuire 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: that 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 new-found ability to his advantage.

Nick telepathically eavesdrops on Darcy and sabotages 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 female acquaintances/relationships, especially those at work. Nick loses his gift during a severe thunder and lightning storm while on his way to see company secretary, Erin, who (telepathic ability revealed) has been contemplating suicide. He offers her a position that she was previously turned down for by him, which 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 executive who acquires the gift to hear what women are thinking.
  • Helen Hunt as Darcy McGuire: Nick's co-worker who later becomes his love interest.
  • Marisa Tomei as Lola: Nick's once love interest who works in a coffee shop and is trying to become an actress.
  • Ashley Johnson as Alexandra "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 later dumps her after she reveals her desire not to sleep with him right away. She at first has a rocky relationship with her dad but in the end reconciles with him. She is a huge fan of Meredith Brooks.
  • Alan Alda as Dan Wanamaker: Nick's boss.
  • Mark Feuerstein as Morgan Farwell
  • Judy Greer as Erin
  • Sarah Paulson as Annie
  • Lauren Holly as Gigi: Nick's former wife, mother of Alexandra, and new wife of Ted who she leaves at the beginning of the movie with to go on their honeymoon.
  • 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.
  • Delta Burke as Eve
  • Valerie Perrine as Margo
  • Eric Balfour as Cameron: Alexandra's much older boyfriend who is a gameplayer and dumps her after she tells him that she is not ready to sleep with him after the prom.
  • Ana Gasteyer as Sue Cranston
  • Diana-Maria Riva as Stella
  • Lisa Edelstein as Dina
  • Loretta Devine as Flo
  • Logan Lerman as Young Nick Marshall
  • Alex McKenna as Alex's friend
  • Bette Midler as Dr. J. M. Perkins (uncredited)


Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 54% based on 121 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."[3] On Metacritic the film has a score of 47 out of 100, based on 33 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[4] On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[5]


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, USA. 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, USA. 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.[6] Cameron Diaz was courted to star as its lead.[7] The film was released in 2019 as What Men Want with Taraji P. Henson in the lead role.

Foreign market remake

A Chinese remake directed by Chen Daming starring Andy Lau and Gong Li was released in 2011.[8] Aga Bai Arrecha! in 2004 is a Marathi Film directed by Kedar Shinde from India.


  1. "Wind Dancer Films". winddancer.com.
  2. "What Women Want (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  3. "What Women Want (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  4. "What Women Want reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  5. "Search for 'What Women Want'". CinemaScore. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  6. Rowles, Dustin. "Pajiba Exclusive: The Second Biggest Rom-Com of All Time Gets a Sequel". Pajiba. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  7. Tyler, Josh. "Cameron Diaz Remaking Mel Gibson's What Women Want?". CinemaBlend. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  8. "What Women Want (我知女人心)". Film Business Asia. March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2011.
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