In 2009 a book was released onto the world that was not prepared for its impact. That book was, of course, Steve Harvey's "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man". Within weeks of its publication, this book was under the arm of seemingly every sad sack female in the United States attempting to figure out the intricacies of dating.
Harvey, who has been married 3 times, burst onto the national scene with appearances on every talk show that would have him as a guest. Having worked for years as a standup comic and television personality, he had made an impact by attempting to provide women with a look into the average fella's mind. He turned this success into a radio show and Family Feud hosting gig on television. The only media left to conquer was film, which leads us to this week's big release, Think Like a Man.
Think Like a Man follows the love lives of five friends and the women they are currently attempting to woo. Anchored by standup great Kevin Hart as Cedric, a man in the process of happily divorcing his wife, we are introduced to "player" Zeke (Romany Malco); "dreamer" Dominic (Michael Ealy); man-child Jeremy (Jerry Ferara); and their female counterparts (Meagan Good, Regina Hall, and Gabrielle Union). The ladies have had years of disappointment in their love lives thanks to the losers they have dated, and thanks to the constant barrage of Steve Harvey appearances on TV, they turn to his book for insight into what they may be doing wrong. What follows is an urban war of the sexes not seen since Deliver From Eva.
Oh, I'm just kidding. This may be another instance where my expectations walking in were so low that I am overpraising the film, but THINK isn't just a funny movie, it may have been the most fun I have had in a theater in months. The setups and punch lines really deliver in this, and it features what will hopefully be Kevin Hart's breakthrough performance.
If I didn't know anything else about this film, I was sure to know that Hart was the star walking in. Every promotional ad I have seen for THINK over the last month or so is ALL Hart. After a couple of great standup concerts recorded for cable, Hart is the biggest black comedian since Dave Chappelle, and many are banking on him to become even bigger after this film. While all of the actors more than hold their own with the script, Hart is there to knock every punch line out of the park.
The only problem I had with the movie, and it's a big problem, was that by the end it came dangerously close to becoming a glorified infomercial for Steve Harvey. Every female comes to the book by scoffing at a televised Harvey appearance, "I don't need a book to tell me how to live my life," then shows them moments later fighting other customers for copies of it. Every time there is a problem in a relationship onscreen, Harvey pops up like The Great Gazoo to spout off some inane self help crap that we are supposed to take as sage advice. The less Harvey in the film, the better it becomes.
This is a film that I honestly thought would come and go in theaters without my giving it a second thought, but surprisingly I left the theater having found a new actor to follow and a movie that may be worth a second viewing. If you are looking a fun time at the cinema, you could do a lot worse than THINK.