Movie Review: Think Like a Man
Think Like a Man is a good funny romantic comedy with Steve Harveyâ€™s book setting new ground rules, and the men and women trying to win at the game of dating, before realizing itâ€™s better to lose and win the ultimate prize of love. Cliche perhaps, but watchable, even in a guilty pleasure kind of way
If you’ve read Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, which the film is based on, you may wonder how it would effectively translate to screen. The writers did a more than thorough job of combining the points in the book with the dating challenges of the characters.
In the book version, Steve Harvey outlined types of men and women in the dating scene, The Mama’s Boy, The Single Mom, The Player, The Strong Independent Woman, The Dreamer etc. and writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman chose to have each of the main characters take on one of these types and meet their opposite.
There's the single mom (Regina Hall) who has to win her boyish man (Terrence J) from the grips of his domineering mother, the perpetual girlfriend (Gabrielle Union) who has been dating action figure obsessed (Jerry Ferrara) for something like nine years with no talk of marriage, and the sweet, sensitive, formerly easy one night stand (Meagan Good) who turns a new leaf after reading the book and forces her new beau (Romany Malco) a player who usually scores on the first night, to wait 90 days before he can have the "cookie.”
The couple that breaks the conventional mold, is the strong willed high powered executive with a laundry list of what she wants in a man (Taraji P. Henson) and her unexpected romance with a low status aspiring chef who caters to make ends meet (Michael Ealy).
Throughout Steve Harvey himself pops on screen, talks to the audience, and offers tips directly from the book. The film at the beginning follows the group of guy friends who engage in regular male bonding on the basketball court and at the bar. The group of women who date these men, stumble upon Harvey’s book and start to eagerly or begrudgingly in Lauren’s case, (Taraji P. Henson), apply the advice to their personal dating situations.
At first the film begins to feel like it is just going to be an amusing commercial for the book---amusing because we get to see a
woman like Mya (Meagan Good), learn the points of the book out loud, and test it out on her man. When the story lags, there may be just enough eye candy in the form of the gorgeous cast and great styling that keeps the audience engaged enough to stay tuned. The story finally picks up and moves forward when the men learn what the women in their lives are up to and start to play along.
The film is helmed by director Tim Story, who formerly directed Barbershop, and manages to establish an interestingly self-aware tone for this rom-com; it most likely needs to be so to handle the infomercial-like nature of the first act. Kevin Hart’s character Cedric, a recent divorcee who feigns confidence in his new status, is the narrator throughout meant to draw laughs, and does not disappoint, delivering some well timed stupid funny outbursts throughout the film.
The ensemble cast is packed with the aforementioned talents of the always terrific Taraji P. Henson who manages to bring vulnerability to a character that could have been devastatingly one dimensional and heart throb Michael Ealy, who is usually seen in dramatic roles but slips effortlessly into this genre as a bona fide leading man.
The film also boasts an incredible number of cameos from musicians and pop culture personalities such as Kelly Rowland, Keri Hilson, Chris Brown, Wendy Williams, Sherri Shepherd, basketball player Lisa Leslie, and actors like Morris Chestnut and Tika Sumpter (of Gosspi Girl). One thing that was refreshing was that the actors with some chops were in the main roles, and the musicians and personalities were sprinkled throughout the movie in bit roles. Its almost a relief to see a film that was able to effectively incorporate personalities in a way that actually added to the humor and of course boosted the marketability of
the film, without causing the story to suffer greatly.
At the end of the day, Think Like a Man is a good funny romantic comedy with Steve Harvey’s book setting new ground rules, and the men and women trying to win at the game of dating, before realizing it’s better to lose and win the ultimate prize of love. Cliche perhaps, but watchable, even in a guilty pleasure kind of way.
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