Much like “She's Just Not That Into You” or the upcoming “What to Expect When You're Expecting,” “Think Like a Man” uses a self-help book as a starting point and builds human situations around it. But this comedy based on Steve Harvey's “Act Like a Woman, Think Like a Man” mines genuine humor and relatable relationship conflict from its source material and, thanks to sharp writing and a strong cast, largely overcomes some grating storytelling mistakes in the process.
To illustrate the various misperceptions that women have about male behavior, writers Keith Merryman and David Newman engineer human forms for Harvey's subjects. While Harvey geared his book to women, the film centers on a group of male friends facing various issues of trust, communication, initiative and focus in their various couplings.
Zeke (Romany Malco of “Weeds” and “The 40 Year Old Virgin”) is too focused on achieving a physical relationship with Mya (Meagan Good), Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) finds that his immaturity is pushing away longtime girlfriend Kristen (Gabrielle Union), aspiring chef Dominic (Michael Ealy) hides his slumping prospects from his CEO girlfriend Lauren (Taraji P. Henson), and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) is too beholden to his mother to focus on Candace (Regina Hall). Meanwhile, hilarious motormouth Cedric (Kevin Hart) is dealing poorly with his impending divorce.
The key problems with “Think Like a Man” begin with an oppressive structure: director Tim Story (“Fantastic Four,” “Barbershop”) frequently cuts away to mock television interviews with an overly serious, pseudo-authoritative Harvey intoning his advice and wisdom. Harvey, one of the “Kings of Comedy,” is completely humorless in these segments and brings the comedic momentum of the film to a dead halt. The film often feels like an infomercial for the book, implying that nearly every woman in Los Angeles rushed out at the same time to buy Harvey's invaluable collection of insights.
‘Think Like a Man'
Starring: Romany Malco, Kevin Hart, Arielle Kebbel, Meagan Good, Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson. (Sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use)