HOLLYWOOD, California - Mel Gibson has had a bad year, and What Women Don't Want isn't going to make it any better, according to this reviewer.
The romantic tragedy, set in modern day Malibu Hills, seems atypical at first glance -- from Brave Hearts on, Gibson's directorial efforts have been largely blood-soaked historical exercises. But What Women Don't Want isn't so atypical, it turns out. In fact, it's really just more of the same: Another violence-filled run-or-die story.
The film starts with a piss poor idea, then drops faster than a fucking bitch that just got hit in the teeth.
Mel Gibson plays Dick Marshall, a Hollywood bigshot with alcohol in his blood. Oksana Grigorieva plays Maya, Marshall's panicked ex-girlfriend. Marshall's movies grossed over $2 billion, and now he prowls his home in Malibu Hills with sexist tirades and racial slurs at the ready. He is an unrepentant chauvinist, an anti-Semite - who isn't exactly fond of black people either, by the way - and a steak-and-Scotch man who needs to "get the hell away from me!" screams Maya at one point in the film.
Maya's troubles take a turn for the worse when Marshall receives an electric shock in a bathroom blowdryer accident and finds he can read her mind. And he doesn't like what he hears. Not one fucking bit.
Now a conduit for her thoughts, he finds his love interest is no longer interested, and becomes enraged. In this shift, Gibson makes good use of music: Bobby Darin's Mel the Knife sets the tone for Marshall's two-faced Hollywood smile, then cuts to the Police's If You So Much as Breathe, I'll Be Watching You in the next scene as Gibson's character rifles through Maya's purse looking for any reason, any reason at all, to beat the living shit out of her.
From then on, the movie never ceases to use every possible excuse to depict violence.
Gibson plays Marshall with a fierceness and intensity that is at times a little too believable. His vision of relationships is savage and primal. When a character is punched, for example, one is nauseated by the director's almost pornographic attention to detail in depicting every bruise, every fat lip, every chipped tooth, every black eye administered by Marshall's authoritarian hand in excruciating slow motion.
You can hear it in his voice, too; Marshall's a man who knows how to use it to get what he wants, and he believes Maya ought to give it to him whether she wants to or not.
And if his voice doesn't do the trick, he can always use his fists.
In "What Women Don't Want," Hollywood's lethal weapon has created a romantic tragedy that rivals his sweatiest action roles, his bloodiest historical epics.
It's visual appeal is a disturbing aspect of the film that will draw in audiences. The set, a lovely Mediterranean home in a posh Malibu Hills neighborhood, has never looked better, not to mention its fucking rose garden, demonstrating Gibson's skill as a cinematographer.
Viewers will be captivated by the authenticity of location and language as Marshall lets Maya know she needs saving because she is a fucking whore, and that if she's raped by a gang of ... well, you know the rest. No need to use the "n" word, now is there? Let's just say she would have had it coming.
Using the decline of Classic urbanism as his backdrop, Gibson demonstrates that there is absolutely nothing redeemable about elite Hollywood culture depicted amidst a disgusting feast of bruises, blood, gore, sexual slurs and ethnic epithets.
The disemboweling of Brave Hearts, the floggings of The Passionate Christ, and the endless gore of Afattalypso already had many moviegoers wondering if maybe the leading man from down under has a problem upstairs.
This latest endeavor could be a career-ending flop for the sexiest man alive 25 years ago, and is easily the worst film of 2010.
What Women Don't Want is rated NC-17 (No One 17 And Under Admitted). It has strong violence, strong language, a maddening lack of sexuality, and alcohol and drug use.
If you go see it, says Gibson, you get what you fucking deserve.