There is a large potential for failure in an ensemble romantic comedy. It is a chain only as strong as its weakest link. A miscast actor or flimsy plot tangent can scuttle the entire movie.
Fortunately, “Think Like a Man” plays the cinematic equivalent of the prevent defense and dodges any major disasters by functioning as a completely serviceable, not-terrible romcom.
The movie uses the gimmick of painting itself as a battle of the sexes by using comedian Steve Harvey’s real-life book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” as a jumping-off point.
We are then presented with a group of male friends, each branded with a label to describe his unique personality flaw.
There is Dominic the Dreamer (Michael Ealy), Jeremy the Non-Committer (Jerry Ferrara, better known as Turtle from “Entourage”), Michael the Momma’s Boy (Terrence Jenkins), Zeke the Player (Romany Malco), and Cedric the Divorcee (Kevin Hart who serves as the motor-mouthed comic relief).
Armed with Harvey’s book (Harvey himself pops up on screen throughout the movie to drop little nuggets of knowledge), the women in these men’s lives look to shape their men into worthy mates.
Successful and career-minded Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) tries to get Dominic to focus on one of his many aspirations, all while overcoming her own unrealistic standards.
After nine years of dating, Kristen (Gabrielle Union) works to get Jeremy to grow up and pop the question.
Candace (Regina Hall) is a single mother who tries to wriggle Michael out from under the thumb of his own domineering mother, Loretta (played by Webster University grad Jenifer Lewis).
Meanwhile, Mya (Meagan Good) uses Harvey’s tome to get Zeke to stick around by using the 90-Day Rule before allowing him into her bed.
“Think Like a Man” was directed by Tim Story who is best known for directing the two “Fantastic Four” movies. Here he does an admirable job of shifting between stories and giving each relationship equal time, all while moving fast enough to keep the audience from getting bored yet lingering long enough with each couple to allow us time to care about the characters.
The cast is solid and likable throughout which serves the movie well as you’re left rooting for happy resolutions for all the couples involved.
Look, there is nothing particularly remarkable going on here. “Think Like a Man” does a good job of accomplishing what it sets out to do and manages to exceed the low expectations this genre has set for itself over the past few years.
The result is a solid date-night movie with enough romance to satisfy the ladies and enough laughs to ensure the men won’t spend the whole time checking their watches.
“Think Like a Man” is rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor, and brief drug use.