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This is not just a movie based on any old book; this is a movie based on a bestselling advice book: Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment. Surprisingly, this manual, penned by the thrice-married comic and current host of Family Feud, translates better than might be expected into a cohesive narrative film feature. But even though Think Like a Man is better than it has any right to be, that’s a far cry from saying that the movie is particularly good.
The movie is populated with an assemblage of characters, each one exemplifying a personality type or romantic problem outlined in the book. This structure creates characters that are stick figures or conceptual representations allowing no room for growth or individuality. Instead of probing for depth, the film inserts meaningful pop songs as it transitions among various couples and situations – and as the film simultaneously follows four couples, that generates a lot of musical interludes. Within the one-dimensionality of the characters, however, the terrific cast manages to imbue each figure with a certain degree of humanity and spunk. In this, the film is not unlike director Tim Story’s breakthrough film, Barbershop. The ensemble is not only good but also easy on the eyes, and the cast is spiked with amusing cameos from Chris Brown, Sherri Shepherd, Wendy Williams, and Steve Harvey. The relationship advice is all fairly boilerplate, much like the film itself, but these actors have made this a bankable romcom. Let’s hope they all signed prenups before returning for the inevitable sequel.