When a quartet of women get their mitts on comedian-turned-author Steve Harvey’s best-seller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, they set out to put the book’s man-wrangling rules to practice in their respective relationships. Mya (Good) forces her new player beau (Romany Malco) to wait for sex; Kristen (Union) makes her manchild boyfriend (Entourage’s Jerry Ferrara) get his act together; Candace (Regina Hall) tries to wrest Michael (Terrence Jenkins) from his mother’s clutches; and Lauren (Henson) attempts to pressure her dude (Michael Ealy) into a higher tax bracket. These men eventually realize that they’re being manipulated, so they game the ladies right back—which naturally blows up in their faces.
This mega-rom-com may feature a minor-celeb-studded ensemble cast, but there’s no mistaking its true star: Harvey’s real-life 2009 dating-advice tome. It’s funny how often director Tim Story’s camera lovingly lingers over the book jacket, the way another director’s might over a pair of shapely legs or a pretty face. But for what essentially amounts to a feature-length advertisement, Think Like a Man is surprisingly entertaining, thanks to the cast’s collective chemistry and the film’s balance of appealing elements for both sides of the gender divide. In the midst of all the candlelit dinners and happy endings, you almost miss the fact that the Gospel of Harvey offers a depressingly businesslike view of love. It’s fitting, since at heart this movie is all about transactions, both romantic and commercial.
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