Studio: Screen Gems (120 min)
Plot: Four interconnected and diverse men have their love lives shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Steve Harvey's book and start taking his advice to heart.
Cast: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson
Rating: PG 13
Bottom Line: ***
By Jonathan McMillan
Based off the Steve Harvey bestseller, the film "Think Like A Man" opens with the legendary sound of James Brown singing "It's A Mans World." Anyone familiar with the song knows the true message of the song is in the lyrics; "but it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl."
That song choice serves as a perfect theme for this conventional romantic comedy that chronicles the timeless war of the sexes. Now I realize that the description "conventional" may come across as negative, but that's not my intention entirely. I mean conventional as in "not a Madea" movie. This quality film falls more in line with Hollywood's traditional romantic-comedy formula rather than Tyler Perry's "play adapted for film" approach to movie making. There are plenty of laughs interspersed through out romantic conflicts that are resolved without any significant twists or surprises.
The plot revolves around the love lives and relationships of six male friends who fall into very specific roles; the player, the mama’s boy, the dreamer, the non-committer, the happily married man and the happy divorcee. For the most part these guys are blissfully ignorant of the dissatisfaction that the significant others in their lives silently suffer through.
That is until the women discover and read Steve Harvey's book "Think Like A Man, Act Like A Woman." Acting on the advice of the book, the women manipulate the men into becoming the type of man they each want and getting the relationships they desire.
So can the "player" be tamed by the girl who keeps her "cookie" on lock down for at least 90 days? Can the single mom get the "mama's boy" to cut the emotional umbilical cord he shares with his overbearing, over nurturing mother (played pitch perfect by Jennifer Lewis)?
And what happens when the fellas realize that they've been "betrayed" by Steve Harvey and then use the book against the ladies like a sports team with knowledge of the opposing teams plays. Although the majority of the cast is Black, the story (due to Steve Harvey's source material) and the comedy (thanks mostly to Kevin Hart) is broad enough to appeal to almost all audiences unlike some of Tyler Perry's movies which tend to cater specifically to Black women.
Every actor and actress does an adequate job in their various roles and move the film easily from scene to scene. There are plenty of cameos that make the film fun but Kevin Hart deserves special recognition because he absolutely shines! He redefines the term "scene stealer" by being the most enjoyable character every time he appears on screen.
Although many people will consider this a Black romantic-comedy, this film is really too strong to be pigeonholed into that genre. But if you must classify it as such, then know that this movie breaks Tyler Perry's stronghold and breaks out of the Madea mold of what is Black entertainment.
This was printed in the May 6, 2012 - May 19, 2012 Edition