Movie/review

How to Please a Woman movie review (2022)

Gina (Sally Phillips) is a middle manager in a company called “Lifeline Liquidation” (an apt metaphor for what’s about to happen). She and her husband are basically platonic roommates. She goes for long-distance ocean swims on the regular with a group of friends. For Gina’s birthday, these women buy her a stripper named Tom (Alexander England), who shows up at her door and begins the bump-and-grind. She’s not interested. In fact, she’s horrified, but she would like him to clean her living room with his shirt off. Would that be all right? Turns out, it is. Something sparks in her, an idea of pleasure, an idea of asking for what you want in a judgment-free zone. Besides his side hustle as a stripper, Tom works for a moving company (called “Pleased to Move You,” another metaphor). When Gina is let go from her job for no reason other than ageism, she decides to buy Tom’s moving company (about to be “liquidated” by her former company), and transform it into a new business where the workers are men and they clean houses and also provide sex.

The coincidences necessary to keep the premise afloat (what are the odds that the random stripper also works for the company she was assigned to liquidate, and etc.) strains belief, but once the story settles in and the company is up and running, comedy and profundity ensue. The men at the moving company are surprisingly game for Gina’s new business plan, although there is a bit of a learning curve. None of them have any experience with this kind of thing. The initial clients are all of Gina’s friends. Tom is good at the sex part, but terrible at the cleaning part. Another guy is great at cleaning but horrible at sex. Both problems need to be addressed, which Gina does, swiftly and professionally. She’s a natural-born entrepreneur. She holds interviews with potential clients in her car, listening to what they want, and how they want it. Some women want sex, others don’t. Some are extremely specific. (I loved the elderly woman who said she wanted to be “edged” towards orgasm, and then experience “total annihilation.”) Some have no idea how to even ask for what they want. 

Steve (Erik Thomson), the owner of the moving company, heads up the IT department of this new venture, and one of the movers, Ben (Josh Thomson), handles office supplies. (One of the funniest scenes involves Ben having to “fill in” for one of the guys who can’t make an appointment. Ben is in a panic. But it must be done. Ben steps up. Ben has hidden depths.) The script is extremely witty and three lines (“Could we skip dinner?” “One is never enough.” and “That was a career highlight”) made me laugh out loud. But Webster sneaks in those deeper moments in seemingly casual exchanges. Early on in the process, one of the movers sidles up to Steve to speak to him privately, saying, “I’m not exactly sure that I can reliably say I know how to please a woman.” Steve thinks about this for a moment and replies, “If you can say that, you’re a better man than most.” 

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