Mel Mel Mel, how many time have we told you not to wash your dangling knackers in the sink?!!
If you’re to believe your female friends anyway, the answer to what women want is apparently really quite simple.
Mel Gibson. Full stop.
Well that’s half the audience happy then, provided they have no more complex demands. Y’know, stuff like plot, character development and wanting the film to go absolutely bleedin’ anywhere at all. Instead it swims around aimlessly looking for predictable gags, a routine moral ending and the requisite slushy romance. ‘By numbers’ doesn’t really cover it, it’s like they’ve bought it straight off the peg and couldn’t even be bothered to unpack it properly.
A fatigued Mel looks like he’s had it with the hard-man action roles (he’s not quite as toned as he used to be you know). And for that matter hard acting roles in general. Instead he wants to show you that he can be the sensitive type, a thoroughly perfect lover, father and boss and all-round moral savior while he’s at it. And naturally there’s time for him to let you know he’s still a saint between the sheets.
On the plus side there’s a drunk Mel Gibson looking ridiculous trussed up like some unwilling amateur drag-queen, some kooky support from Marisa Tomei, even if stereotypically so, and a few genuine laughs when he first begins to absurdly hear women’s thoughts. It soon wears thin though and the main support from Helen Hunt would have been unbelievable for an inanimate prop, never mind a living breathing actress.
That it sets itself up as a sharp critique of male culture with more strands of possibility than a typical lad’s liberal tales of sexual conquest, only to fall straight to mush, just makes it worse. It turns out to be a movie for the Ally McBeal generation – easy on the eye, fools you into thinking it’s engaging to the brain whereas really it’s no more than a post-pubescent Saved By The Bell in expensive suits. All surface and no feeling.