Think Like A Man
Starring: Michael Ealy, Kevin Hart, Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall, Romany Malco, Terrence Jenkins, Jerry Ferrara, Gabrielle Union, Steve Harvey
It’s obvious from the first few minutes of the new romantic comedy Think Like A Man that director Tim Story, the screenwriters, and the cast are aiming for something different.
Purposely avoiding the unfortunate trend of over-the-top buffoonery commonplace in recent Black comedy films, they intentionally take aim for a more sophisticated, sleek, well-upholstered type of rom-com.
It wants to harken back to the glory days of ‘90s Black cinema such as 1992’s Eddie Murphy-Reggie Hudlin directed comedy Boomerang. If it doesn’t quite reaching that level, it does genuinely come close at times. That alone makes the film worth seeing and is a huge positive step up from the usual dreary dreck.
Think Like A Man is a slick, attractive and witty film populated with believable and appealing characters who act, for a change, like real adult people with real problems. But more importantly it’s charming, very funny, and surprisingly very witty, a trait that is sadly rarely seen in films today in general, and especially in Black films.
The movie is based, of course, on Steve Harvey’s best selling and controversial relationship book in which the comedian/deejay revealed to women, at least in his point of view, all the hidden secrets and thoughts of men when it comes to women and relationships and how they can use that information to their advantage.
However, the film takes what was a non-fiction book and structures a multi-storied plot invoking several couples –– each with some issue to surmount.
There’s the hard, aggressive businesswoman looking for her male equal and the poor unemployed chef (Henson and Ealy); the player and the good girl looking for commitment (Malco and Good); the single mom and the mama’s boy (Hall and Jenkins); and the professional woman and the underachiever (Union and Ferrara).
And buzzing around like an annoying insect, stealing every scene he’s in, is Kevin Hart, the smart ass, cynical wise guy who’s inwardly emotionally fragile and on the breaking edge due to his recent divorce.
The relationships get turned when the women discover Harvey’s book and use it to their advantage to gain the upper hand with the men they’re involved with without their knowledge.
That is…until a plot twist in the second half of the film, which takes everything that went on previously into a whole other direction.
Helped enormously by a sharp and funny screenplay (with some of the funniest zingers aimed at Tyler Perry) and some sympathetic and terrific performances by everyone involved, the film avoids the cheap and tawdry, instead going for a slick smooth approach.
The film is also a welcome career comeback for director Story, after his successful, but critically reviled Fantastic Four films.
If there is one shortcoming, it’s the film’s plot predictability. Instead of the off-beat, unexpected plot development that could have taken the film on a whole different level, we know exactly how each story is going to play out long in advance before it actually happens.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but a little originality could have gone a long way.
Nevertheless, Think Like A Man is remarkably engaging and a genuinely entertaining spring film surprise that deserves to be a big hit.