If you love comedian Steve Harvey, you will most likely love the springtime rom-com, "Think Like a Man," based on his best-seller, "How to Act Like a Lady and Think Like a Man."
If you aren't sure about Harvey, you will probably walk out of the theater feeling annoyed, conflicted and flinching at the sight of his book the next time you see it displayed at 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. It's the biggest self promotion and product placement I have ever seen on screen. During the first hour, 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 its 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 a group of 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, well cast as 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 review. At times, I was entertained watching the couples interact, yet all the while I was disgusted by the blatant self-promotion.
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 constant self-promotion, "Think Like a Man" could have been one of the most entertaining romantic comedies we've seen so far this year.