If you love Steve Harvey, you will most likely love this springtime rom-com, Think Like a Man, based off of his best-seller, “How to Act Like a Lady and Think Like a Man.” If you aren’t sure about Steve Harvey, you will probably walk out of the theatre feeling annoyed, conflicted and flinching at sight of his book next time you see it displayed in the window of your local bookstore. That’s how much you are exposed to his face and book during the movie.
Harvey’s book was strategically placed in practically every scene in the film. It’s the biggest self promotion and product placement I have ever seen in a feature film. During the first hour of the film, there were several times I felt like I was watching one big infomercial, with the characters popping up on screen right before Harvey explains each “rule” he wrote in detail.
Think Like a Man is a weird mixture of He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day and Two Can Play That Game. The film doesn’t devote enough time to it’s protagonists, forcing them to fall into stereotypes. Maybe if we hadn’t seen Harvey’s face pop up after each romantic conflict, re-explaining the situation in his own words, we could’ve focused more on the characters and cared for their outcomes.
He’s Just Not That Into You was another relationship self-help book turned feature film made in 2009. However that film was based off of ideas in the book, whereas Think Like a Man is about five women reading Harvey’s book, taking his advice and using it in their lives. The purpose of Harvey’s book is to provide women with advice and inspire them to hold their own in a relationship.
Man is about four women (Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall, Meagan Good and Gabrielle Union) and four men (Michael Ealy, Terrence J. Corwley, Romany Malco, and Jerry Ferrara). The couples pair off and reenact scenarios that were sparked from Harvey’s book.
Thank goodness for comedian Kevin Hart, who plays the “happily divorced guy.” His comedic timing and facial expressions made the film fun and watchable. Henson really sticks out in Man as well. She plays Lauren, the young powerful CEO, who can’t seem to find the right guy to match her credentials. Henson understands the role and doesn’t play off her character as a stereotypical power-hungry female. She has the best arc out of any other character in the film and it’s impossible not to watch her on-screen.
This is a very conflicting movie to write a review for. At times, I was truly entertained watching the couples interact and on the flip side, I was disgusted by the self-promotion of Steve Harvey’s book. As an audience, we are interested to see what is going to happen with these characters and the actors are good in playing with the dialogue they were given. But, we don’t get to know them well enough to really care.
As executive producer of the film, Harvey was able to use his book however he wanted and his presence dominated the entire film. Obviously, his word mattered over director Tim Story’s opinion, when it came to telling the stories of these intriguing characters.
If it weren’t for Harvey’s self-promotion sickness throughout the film, Think Like a Man could have been one of the most entertaining romantic comedies we’ve seen this year.