Viewers will know right away where this formulaic comedy is headed, but that doesn't mean there aren't pleasures to be found along the way. Chief among them: Henson knows her way around a punchline, and it's a kick to see her cast in a comedic role. Dressed in her trademark no-nonsense jackets and suits, her Ali is enviously confident in the man's world of the upscale Atlanta sports agency she works for -- that is, until she's passed over for a partnership and told by her just-shy-of-contemptuous boss that she doesn't "connect well with men" and should "stay in her own lane." Anyone who's ever seen a sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves female revenge fantasy knows what's coming next: comeuppance for those who done her wrong -- and, after some forgivable missteps, ultimate triumph.
The setup is, of course, catnip for the type of viewer this movie clearly hopes to attract: girlfriend groups who will cheer as Ali rises to the top, thanks to her trademark mix of savvy and pluck, and the (thankfully temporary) powers she gains from Sister. What Men Want hits all the beats you expect: First, Ali has to learn how to balance power and sensitivity at work, then, to show she sincerely cares about her (clumsily characterized) girlfriend group and (shoehorned-in) love interest, Will (Aldis Hodge). The emotional moments aren't earned, but they pass by quickly enough that viewers can ignore them in favor of this movie's real, irritatingly rare treat: watching a smart, confident woman in her 40s get what's coming to her, in all the best ways. As an icon that fed-up women can connect to, Henson is perfect, even if this particular movie isn't.