Susan Granger’s review of “Think Like a Man” (Screen Gems)
Perhaps turn-about is fair play, so just think of this wannabe romantic comedy as an African-American variation on “He’s Not Just That Into You,” exploring contemporary human behavior, specifically the differences between the way men and women approach sex and romantic relationships. Opening with a series of animated vignettes, it charts courting rituals from prehistoric times right up to the present.
The story’s narrator Cedric (Kevin Hart), dubbed “Happily Divorced Guy,” notes, “the balance of power has sifted,” and references his stereotypical, basketball-playing L.A. buddies as prime examples. There’s Dominic (Michael Ealy), “The Dreamer,” a struggling chef who, while working as a valet behind the wheel of a Porsche, attracts a determined, status-conscious career woman (Taraji P. Henson), labeled “Woman Who Is Her Own Man.” There’s sensitive Michael (Terrence J), “The Mama’s Boy,” who is keeping company with a single mom, Candace (Regina Hall), but cannot untie the apron strings at home. Suave Zeke (comedian Romany Malco) is attracted to “Party Girl” Mya (Megan Good), who won’t let him into her bedroom to consummate their relationship for 90 days; that three-month period is in order to “keep the cookie in the cookie jar.” “Non Committer” Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) is a low-aspiring nerd whose long-time best-friend, “Ring Girl” Kristen (Gabrielle Union), is tired of waiting for him and needs to fast-track the marriage proposal.
Written by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman and directed by Tim Story (“Barbershop”), it’s based on the humorous dating advice book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” (2009) by comedian Steve Harvey, who dispenses tips right into the camera periodically, revealing how, while men lie and evade as they realize they’re being nagged and manipulated into commitment, perhaps it’s all for the best in the end, so to speak.
FYI: Pop singer Chris Brown briefly appears in a cameo obviously typecast as an obnoxious player.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Think Like a Man” is a retro, formulaic 4, acting primarily as an infomercial promotion for Steve Harvey’s self-help book.