Director Tim Story’s Think Like a Man is a romantic comedy told from chiefly from the male’s point of view. It concerns a group of friends as they each work to survive the chaotic dating world in their arduous quest to find a woman to spend their life with and effectively balance that romantic love with a career they can appreciate. Packed with confidence in their abilities to manipulate the opposite sex, the men are oblivious when each of their female partners discovers a dating self-help book that assists the women in navigating their way to a healthy and loving relationship with a suitable, albeit manipulated man.
Michael Ealy as Dominic, Jerry Ferrara as Jeremy, Terrence J as Michael and Kevin Hart as Cedric comprise the male set, while Gabrielle Union as Kristen, Meagan Good as Mya, Regina Hall as Candance and Taraji P. Henson make up the female portion of the cast, with Morris Chestnut as James, in a minor role. All provide enjoyable, sturdy and comedic performances, yet the bulk of the film’s hilarity stems from stand-up comedian Hart as Cedric, who is also the story’s amusing narrator. Hart is certainly on the fringe of the core proceedings, but whenever the characters’ conversations begin steering in a serious direction, Hart’s character interjects with a hilarious rambling, that mostly contributes nothing to the discussion but is entertaining nonetheless. He’s the funniest character and an asset to the story. Without his presence it would have been a strain for the movie to maintain the label of comedy, as most of the laughs are his.
Think Like a Man’s other notable advantage over other ensemble romantic comedies is that it’s based on comedian Steve Harvey’s bestselling self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man and the writers entirely rely on Harvey’s outlined advice as the underpinning for the plot, all to brilliant effect. The relationships here evolve and change. It is the diversity and specifics of each of their circumstances which holds the audience’s attention, making it more relatable and perhaps even, educational, not to mention being hilariously authentic on how convoluted the course of finding the appropriate mate can be.
As far as ensemble romantic comedies go, it does not get much more charming than Think Like a Man. The insightful script effectively interlaces every character and their relationship into a natural and plausible narrative. The trouble with most ensemble romantic comedies is too much emphasis is placed on the love aspect of a romantic relationship and as a result, the haphazard characters effectively race to a happy ending rather than glide to it. Very little time is devoted to the intricate mechanics of relationships and love, while the journey itself is abridged when the journey is the more thrilling part of the process. This is where Think Like a Man excels. It has the journey. It shows the work.
Think Like a Man is far more than just an assembly of pretty actors playing characters who mope around bitching and pontificating about how difficult it is to find love for two hours. It’s a thoughtful movie that articulates its ideas with ample energy and artistic flair. The film offers its viewers something greater than standard love story monotony. It has a refreshing perspective on modern love enacted by gifted actors playing intelligent characters, each of them loaded with particular relationship hindrances. Think Like a Man exploits the many facets of relationships in the twenty-first century in a mature, funny and truthful way, while also being sweet, old-fashioned and attractively confident about its philosophy.