Love is a game, like it or not. Some are good at playing it and some aren’t. The most attractive guy in the world will find himself being continually shot down if he doesn’t know what moves to make, what words to say and what actions to take. This game has been explored in countless movies, but rarely have they been as funny as Think Like a Man. Although it’s less dramatically effective than something like the similar ensemble picture from a few years back, He’s Just Not That Into You, its laughs make up for it.
The film opens describing in detail the different types of guys, all of whom are represented onscreen. There’s “the player,” Zeke (Romany Malco), “the mama’s boy,” Michael (Terrence Jenkins), “the dreamer,” Dominic (Michael Ealy), “the non-committer,” Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), “the happily married man,” Bennett (Gary Owen) and “the happier divorced guy,” Cedric (Kevin Hart). They’re best buddies who like to play basketball together and talk about their sexual escapades and they’ve got it made. They consider themselves in control of their relationships, allowing them to stay contently where they are. However, their significant others, played by a host of talented actresses, including Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson and Gabrielle Union, are about to discover a new book written by Steve Harvey titled “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” that teaches them a few things about the male mindset, allowing them to steal that control from their men.
Now, it must be said, the book itself is not a made-up thing—it’s actually real—and the tactics the characters in the movie use come straight out of it. In a very real sense, Think Like a Man is a shameless, extended plug for Steve Harvey’s book. At times, the characters come off like the ladies on “The Price is Right,” as they pull it out and present it front and center to the audience. The dialogue even consists of the characters discussing how useful and effective the book is while the one non-believer in the film is quickly converted to its cause. The film itself could be described as an infomercial, not one that plays in the middle of the night that nobody watches, but one that you actually have to pay to see.
Its intentions are hazy, but the film isn’t sloppily thrown together, but rather accurately portrays male relationships and the mentality behind them. All of the men approach relationships and sex a different way, some advocating lying to get into bed with a pretty girl while others advise sticking to the truth. Some characters are more likable than others when comparing their (sometimes dirty) methods to get women, but then again, so are actual people. Although certainly exaggerated, the men’s different states of mind are truthful to real life. To a certain extent, every guy who watches this movie will see a part of themselves in one of these men.
Think Like a Man, as one might expect, is overly cheesy at times and with a runtime that clocks in at over two hours, it’s far too long, but it’s biggest problem comes from its ending where everything is wrapped up in a nice little bow. Given the spectrum of problems that arise throughout the film in every portrayed relationship, many of the outcomes presented are highly unlikely. It treats the game men and women play with each other scrupulously, but treats love itself like a fairy tale, where insurmountable problems don’t exist and happy endings are inevitable. It gets the game right, but the outcome of that game dead wrong.
Nevertheless, Think Like a Man works, largely thanks to some clever writing, a (mostly) likable cast and a homerun comedic performance from Kevin Hart, who always manages to pick the film up right when it looks like it’s about to fail. He gives it his all and earns most of the chuckles he receives. It’s not as charming as He’s Just Not That Into You and not as profound as something like Love Actually, but Think Like a Man understands how men think and, on a more basic level, is just plain funny.
Think Like a Man receives 3.5/5