In Think Like a Man — loosely based on Steve Harvey’s bestselling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man — a smorgasbord of hot young black actors live and love in Los Angeles.
Kevin Hart’s Cedric, who is “happily” divorced, narrates the film, and right away introduces the audience to the types of men who are about to be handled by the women who have read Harvey’s book:
Dominic (Michael Ealy) is the dreamer. Michael (Terrence Jenkins) is the mama’s boy. Zeke (Romany Malco) is the player. Jeremy (Jerry Ferrera) is the non-committer. For good measure, Bennett (Gary Owen) is thrown in as the happily married man.
In the film as in real life, the men are outraged that Harvey would write a book giving away all of their dating secrets.
According to the film — perhaps the most expensive advertising campaign ever for a book — Act Like a Lady is a woman’s guide to dating. That is not far from the truth: Many women can relate to dating the types of men mentioned above, and the book as well as the film give insight into how to deal with them.
GIFT FOR BLACK ACTORS
Screenwriters Keith Merryman and David Newman had an interesting challenge — turning a self-help book into a feature-length film — and they succeeded. They have made the book look like a good read, and given black actors in Hollywood a good script to work with.
Director Tim Story went for soft lighting and warm, neutral colors to create an inviting ambiance for the women in the audience. The film feels like a love letter to all of the single (and non-single) ladies out there. It also doesn’t hurt that the film is loaded with eye candy.
We also need more variety in black comedies, and Harvey and company thankfully have come to the rescue with one that is romantic, entertaining and insightful. The best part of the storylines are that you don’t have to be black to enjoy them.
The massive cast of ladies includes Taraji P. Henson as Lauren, a COO with super-high expectations; Regina Hall as single mother Candace; Meagan Good as Mya, the typical single lady looking for love in all the wrong places; Gabrielle Union as Kristen, a real estate agent stuck in a rut with her schlubby boyfriend; and Jenifer Lewis as Michael’s overbearing mother Loretta.
Though there basically are five storylines for the audience to follow, the end result for each is what’s interesting. The theme is that women should understand the men they are dating so that they can love them or leave them.
SECRETS AND TOOLS
Understand, for example, that the dreamer just needs someone to stand by him and believe in him, until he gets it right. That the mama’s boy is the way he is because he’s had to grow up absent a father, whether through abandonment or death. The player has had his heart broken and refuses to let any woman get close enough to hurt him again. And the non-committer just needs to grow up.
Is Think Like a Man giving away men’s secrets for dealing with women? Of course. It’s also giving women the tools they need to understand how to deal with the type of man they have. The message is not whether women should take a page or two from the player’s handbook. It’s that true love is true love and you can work out any issue in your relationship once you understand your mate.