Often, romantic comedies are more romance than comedy, more sap than slapstick, more crying than chuckling. In a genre where the endings are sometimes as predictable as the jokes preceding them, it seems as if comedy is becoming nothing more than an afterthought. Tim Story’s “Think Like a Man” manages to achieve a much better balance of romance and humor—resulting in a romantic comedy that is actually, well, funny.
“Think Like a Man” follows the love lives of four friends, all of whom fall into four different categories of undesirable daters. Romani Malko stars as Zeke, the “player” who tries his best to date and dump as many women as he possibly can, while Michael Ealy stars as Dominic, the man who is always dreaming of big things but can never manage to hold down an actual job. Terrance Jenkins is Michael, the “mama’s boy” who still occasionally lets his mother tuck him in at night. Comedian Kevin Hart rounds out the group as Cedric, not a happily married man, but a self-proclaimed “happier divorced man.” In his mind, love is only comprised of the three progressive rings: “engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering.” The men see nothing wrong with their love lives until their respective romantic interests (Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, Regina Hall, and Meagan Good) turn the tables on their lovers after reading comedian Steve Harvey’s new book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.” The men catch on to the ladies’ secret weapon and try to use the tactics in the book against them, only to realize that love transcends sexual and materialistic appetites.
The strength of this movie lies in its humor. Cedric comically carries the movie in the form of one-liners and delightfully inappropriate behavior—such as hitting on his friend’s mother and describing his sexual encounters in embarrassing detail. Some jokes are more race-oriented, which makes sense given the movie’s target African-American demographic. When one of Hart’s white friends calls him out on his failed relationship with his ex-wife, Hart replies, “Hey, man. My people marched, fought, and died for the right to treat each other like shit.” The predominantly black cast relies heavily on racial humor but not to the film’s detriment. It should be noted that while Hart is a stand-up comedian by profession, the other cast member are also funny in their own right. Hart’s one-liners and inappropriate quips would have been far less successful had it not been for the comedic support of the entire cast.
The movie also boasts a ridiculously star-studded cast. Most of them are famous for their roles in other predominantly black movies or television shows. Various cameos in the movie include but are not limited to Wendy Williams, Chris Brown, Sherri Shepard, and even Steve Harvey himself. Those in the main cast have been featured in at least one major movie in the past year, and their smooth on-screen interplay creates delightful banter. The caliber of acting by each of these big names is directly related to the importance of each character’s role in the movie, and this added familiarity enhanced the film’s overall enjoyability.
The plot is only a slightly nuanced version of “He’s Just Not That Into You.” The ending is predictable. Luckily, these elements don’t matter all that much in a realm where people pay money to see the same storylines played out in slightly different ways. The humor in “Think Like a Man” sets it apart from other romantic comedies in that the hilarity in the actual movie excuses the unoriginal plot. There are cute moments full of tender kisses, confessions of love, and implied sex scenes acted out by extremely attractive people. But the beauty here is in the details—the small, funny moments that make the movie worth watching.
—Staff writer Charlotte D. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org