The self-help adaptation usually has the defining feature of being just as earnest and drippy as the book it’s based on; perhaps even drippier if Hollywood has its extra-rosy tinted dollar-sign glasses on and J-Lo on speeddial. So, the good news about Think like A Man is that the drip factor is fairly reduced, a bit like meeting Cleveland Brown in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
We are introduced to the male characters by their ‘dating persona’ (Non-Committer, Mama’s Boy etc) alter-egos while boisterous strains of ‘This is a Man’s World’ tell us they have everything their own way. Then we meet the ladies, also with their own dating personas, including Girl Who Wants The Ring (Gabrielle Union) and Single Mom (Regina Hall), whose lives are brightened and informed by this new self-help book telling them how to tame their respective man beasts. Predictably, things go a bit wrong when the men realise they’re being manipulated.
It doesn’t sound very exciting or even interesting and the fact that detestable singing caveman Chris Brown pops up as a cameo within the first fifteen minutes could seriously dampen any interest you may have retained up until this point. But if you stick with it, you get a lighthearted and funny, if playing-it-safe, look at the absurdity of game playing in relationships.
Most of the characters are likeable and have something going for them despite their initial cynical classifications, much more substance than the usual old and tired stereotypes of this kind of romantic comedy. Writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman (Friends With Benefits) do a reasonable job of incorporating Steve Harvey’s book (Act like A Lady, Think like A Man) into the script without making us all want to blow chunks.
Think like A Man could have done with being about 20 minutes shorter, the men taking much longer than plausible to realise they are being played [followed by the drawn out conclusion of each couple’s story] but the overall effect is good. A good laugh accompanied by a good score.
Maryann has awarded Think like A Man three Torches of Truth.