What Women Want

What women want is revealed in the final frames, and none of the critics saw it. They know all about movies and didn’t identify Nancy Meyers’s limitations as a director. Her technical acumen comes from an expensive unit, and that’s that. She likes a good joke, however, and wangles one at every opportunity. Thus, when the hero is attempting to lose his preternatural gift by holding an electric hair dryer out to the rain on his high-rise terrace, Meyers cuts to ground level to watch the sparks fly in remote silence. She is not able to surmount Helen Hunt’s fractiousness, but subsumes it as the structure’s finale.

Meyers’s genius is revealed in Mel Gibson’s performance, which is something else the critics didn’t see. This is spectacular comic acting so brilliant that explosives like Marisa Tomei’s actress manquée and Alan Alda’s caricature of Dominick Dunne serenely go off accentually (arsis and thesis).