Directed by Tim Story
Starring Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart
Running Time 123 Minutes, Rated PG-13
3 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com
“Think Like a Man” would be nothing more than a 123 minute ad for Steve Harvey’s best selling self help relationship book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” if not for some well-oiled actors who are able to get way more out the one-dimensional written characters. If I had a nickel for everytime a character said “that’s why you need to buy the book, girl”, I’d have enough to pay for the books cover price of $23.95. Allright, so they didn’t say it 479 times, but they were one stop short of Fight Clubbing it and injecting subliminal images of Harvey’s face. This doesn’t stop the talented cast, male and female, from saying their lines with convincing conviction, consistently being way more funny than the cliched material ever deserved.
Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, the writing team behind this year’s Friends with Benefits, make no attempt to hide the stereotypical labels that define their thin characters. There’s the The Player (Romany Malco) who meets his match with Mya (Meagan Good), who, when she gets a hold of the coveted book, tries to protect her “cookie” (term from the book, I’m sure you can figure out what it represents) and becomes the 90-day-rule-girl. A Mama’s Boy (Terrence Jenkins) starts dating the Single Mom (Regina Hall), The Non-Committer (Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara) not getting the signs from his Wanting-A-Ring long time girlfriend (Gabrielle Union), and the wage slave Dreamer (Michael Ealy) with the successful and dominant Woman-Who-Acts-Like-A-Man (Taraji P. Henson).
Rounding out the cast is the Happily-Divorced-Guy played by Kevin Hart. Hart, whose usual motormouth exuberance can be a bit too much for me at times, here steals the show by not missing a moment to get the audience rolling in the aisles. The real strength in “Think Like a Man”, is the banter between same sexes. Whether it’s the men venting at the bar after their weekly basketball game or the ladies, over dinner, making fun of Tyler Perry films, there’s a hilarious fluidity that’s able to mask the film’s obvious flaws.
“Think Like a Man” is way too long at 123 minutes. That usual romantic comedy arc of boy meets girl, boy and girl hit it off, boy and girl have moment where almost all is lost, and finally boy and girl are happily ever after basically happens four times over. By the time we get the last couple getting to “happily ever after”, we’re pretty tapped out. As the cuteness and chemistry starts to wear off, director Tim Story (Barbershop) smartly gives the screen back to Kevin Hart for a laugh with a well placed cameo.
“Think Like a Man” is a pretty funny relationship flick when it’s not a feature length infomercial. Good thing those sort of tactics don’t work on me. BUY STEVE HARVEY’S BOOK.
BUY STEVE HARVEY’S “THIS”.