A few years ago, comedian Steve Harvey came out with a book called Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man, which outlined a new—or rather, an old—playbook for women to follow if they wanted to get what they wanted and deserved in terms of long-term relationships. For instance, find out up front what your potential mate’s long term goals are; if he wants to be the leading pharmaceutical dealer in the neighborhood, you’ve been given fair warning that maybe this isn’t the baby daddy you’re looking for. Another tidbit: avoid jumping in the sack with Romeo right out of the gate, and instead follow the Ford Motor Company model of providing full benefits to employees only after they’ve demonstrated their reliability after three months.
While many so-called post-modernists and feminists deplored Harvey’s theme, it obviously has resonated, resulting in the movie Think Like a Man, directed by Tim Story. While not a slam dunk either in terms of romance or comedy, it’s engaging and has enough laughs to make it enjoyable. The male characters like to get together for beers and basketball, and tend to either take for granted the women at home or prefer hooking up for one night stands. As the movie begins, the women—including Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union and Meagan Good—discover Harvey’s book after he appears on Oprah, and, having been burned in a number of ways, begin studying in earnest. Relationships blossom, albeit with a degree of frustration on the part of guys who can’t even make it upstairs for a “nightcap” after the first date. Secrets threaten to destroy newfound happiness. And then, the guys discover the book and plan a counter-attack, convincing the women that they’ve truly evolved. . . . Until that falls apart.
Think Like a Man has a bevy of attractive performers playing likeable types, such as Michael Ealy’s dreamer, Romany Malco’s self-described “negro gigolo,” Taraji P. Henson’s highpowered exec, Hall’s single mom and Good’s cute ingénue. Most of the comedic relief is provided by Kevin Hart, whose character is in the midst of a messy divorce and who more often than not crashes at one of the other guys’ pads, drinking their milk and wearing their bathrobes. A scene near movie’s end where he calls his estranged to inform her he’s coming home is punctuated by—literally—bathroom humor, but it works, and somehow endears this somewhat crude bantam cock of a husband to the audience. There are plenty of moments in which we see Harvey himself expound upon his theories, and more than enough shots of the book—it’s a wonder they weren’t being sold outside the theater. It’s not a great movie, it’s really more fair to middling, but somehow, it doesn’t seem like a complete waste of time.