Tim Story’s Think Like a Man recalls films like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, and if you’ve seen those, then you already know that that’s not a good thing. Here we have yet another film that attempts to take more characters than it can handle and juggle them together into a story where the audience couldn’t care less about them. The only difference here is that several of these characters interact with each other rather than having multiple unrelated stories. However, that doesn’t save it from becoming as much of a mess.
It tells the story of several male friends, including Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), Dominic (Michael Ealy), Michael (Terrence Jenkins), and Zeke (Romany Malco), who are attempting to start relationships with women, including Mya (Meagan Good), Candace (Regina Hall), and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson). However, the women have come across a recent book by Steve Harvey that tells all about relationships from a man’s perspective and begin to use it as a kind of guide. This merely makes it harder for the men to win them over. Things begin to change when the men discover the book for themselves and attempt to use it as a means to their own ends.
Just from that synopsis, you can probably tell that the film is overloaded with too many characters, and indeed the film begins to suffer for it. It tries to focus on all of these people as they go through their relationships, but unfortunately it never develops any of them to the point where we actually start to feel anything for them. For a movie like this to work, we have to be rooting for their relationships to succeed, but with characters as flat as these, indifference is all they receive.
What makes the lack of development even more surprising is that the film runs for two whole hours, giving the characters plenty of time to expand, but apparently it wasn’t a priority. What we end up with for those two hours is a film with an agonizingly slow pace that makes the runtime feel more like three or four hours.
Dragging it down even further is the screenplay by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, who both helped writer Friends with Benefits, a comedy from last year that didn’t work very well. Think Like a Man is also supposed to be a comedy, but while it does have a few funny moments, none of it is of the “laugh out loud” variety, making for a film where the writers seem to think the material is funnier than it actually is.
The humor is not particularly offensive in any way, nor do I recall it sinking to the lowbrow or Sandler level. It’s just that the jokes they were trying to tell weren’t particularly funny. It’s not a good sign when I try to think back over a two hour comedy and can only come up with one instance where I smirked, in this case, a quick and amusing exchange of dialogue near the end of the film that was delivered with well-done comic timing.
Going back to the story, it all ends up falling apart in the end as it settles into a lazy predictability. Merryman and Newman basically decided to follow the old romantic-comedy formula where they make you think that things won’t work out for everyone. This is done through a couple of lazy plot twists that you instantly realize are not going to stand in the way for very long before things end as you knew they would from the start.
The film comes to us from director Tim Story, whose track record has been rather disastrous, having given us such films as Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Taxi. Turns out he has a pretty ironic name, given that all of these films lacked a good story. Now he has another one to toss on the heap. The only thing he’s successfully done with this film is publicize Steve Harvey’s book, which seems to have been the main goal all along.
Think Like a Man tries to tackle more characters than it can handle, making for a mess of a film that ultimately feels like a two-hour advertisement for Steve Harvey's book.