Think Like A Man is less a feature-film adaptation of Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man—a bestselling relationship guide by comedian and Family Feud host Steve Harvey—than an insanely overlong infomercial for the book. The comedy treats Harvey’s book as a Rosetta stone that unlocks the mysteries of men’s minds and of male-female relationships. Harvey appears throughout to deliver ostensibly sage pronouncements on an Oprah-style talk show: In spite of his decades in show business as a stand-up comedian, actor, radio personality, and game-show host, he’s as stiff and unconvincing playing himself as any amateur actor. Still, he has to be flattered by a movie that features characters all but getting into fistfights over the opportunity to buy his book.
Steve Harvey worship is even written into the film’s asinine premise: Think Like A Man finds a group of gorgeous, professionally accomplished black women reading Harvey’s book and gaining the upper hand in their relationships with a gaggle of emotionally stunted man-children. Then the fellows figure out that Harvey has betrayed his gender by revealing all their secrets, so they devour the guru’s tell-all themselves, and turn the tables on the scheming females.
Think Like A Man reduces the war between the sexes and the infinite mysteries of romance and relationships to a bland, pandering assortment of beer-commercial stereotypes and generalities. Men like to drink beer, play basketball, and avoid commitment, even to women who should be universes out of their league. Meanwhile, women like to drink wine, gossip with their girlfriends, pressure men into commitment, and ask about short and long-term goals. Barbershop director Tim Story has assembled an attractive, overqualified cast that includes Taraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, and Meagan Good, but the only actor who makes much impression is Kevin Hart in the Cedric The Entertainer role of the manic, irascible shit-talker seemingly given free rein to improvise. He isn’t particularly funny (nothing in Think Like A Man is), but his performance has an impish energy that the rest of Story’s super-slick film lacks. Think Like A Man’s silky buppie charms are barely enough to support a trailer, let alone a film that drones on for two interminable hours. Considering its utter lack of substance, that’s a seeming eternity, even for a film based on such a theoretically groundbreaking, all-important, instructive book.