Blu-ray Review: ‘Think Like a Man’ Offers Zero Insight into Relationships

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CHICAGO – Steve Harvey seems to be everywhere these days. He’s hosting morning radio programs, headlining “Family Feud,” launching his own daytime talk show and even hawking the latest attractions On Demand. Yet for all of his media exposure, the man has yet to prove that he’s much of an authority on anything. He’s basically an average comic blessed by the kiss of Oprah.

However, since Harvey’s self-help book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” was an Oprah-backed bestseller, Harvey now appears to be modeling his revamped persona after Dr. Phil. He offers women tips on how to please men while warning them of which guys to avoid. The film adaptation assembles an ensemble of instantly recognizable stereotypes (“The Mamma’s Boy,” “The Non-Committer,” etc.) who are all laughably obsessed with Harvey’s allegedly inarguable wisdom. Blu-ray Rating: 1.5/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 1.5/5.0

There isn’t a single ounce of insight to be gleaned from the interminable two hours of this mammoth time-waster. The cast is attractive and rather likable (with one major exception), but they’re imprisoned in a series of glib vignettes that are typical of self-help book adaptations. Screenwriters all too often take subpar source material like this as an invitation to coast on formulaic caricatures. None of the characters in “Think Like a Man” have enough depth to register as three-dimensional human beings. They’re just a bunch of pre-programmed Harvey bots destined for an inner-revelation that’s glaringly obvious long before the third act arrives. (Spoiler Alert!) The most vital, life-altering advice these characters learn is—are you ready for this?—choose the truth instead of lies. All hail Guru Harvey for coming up with that one!

Think Like a Man was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 28, 2012.
Think Like a Man was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 28, 2012.
Photo credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

I’m all for movies that reverse the racial quotient predominant in white saturated Hollywood. Yet out of the dozen leads in “Think Like a Man,” couldn’t writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman have included more adequate white characters than Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara), a hopeless nerd who worships his Transformers action figures, and Bennett (Gary Owen), the boorish stooge propped up for the other guys to knock down? They tell him to shut up so many times that it’s a shame they couldn’t have simply hired Mel Cooley to take the blows. The only other white guys onscreen are the cavemen featured in the film’s unnecessary animated prologue (apparently there were no black cavemen back then). What really grinds the film to a halt is the exceedingly unfunny Kevin Hart, whose motormouth riffing evokes unwanted memories of Chris Tucker and Tracy Morgan’s darkest hours. He also provides narration chockfull of observations that are already blindingly obvious to the viewer. When the lies start to add up, Hart observes, “And the lies was startin’ to add up.” When the plot thickens, Hart exclaims, “Uh oh—that can’t be good!” It’s like a commentary track designed for the Stupids.

“Think Like a Man” is presented in 1080p High Definition (with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio), accompanied by English, Spanish, French and Thai audio tracks and includes a slew of forgettable extras. The highlight is in the deleted scenes: a brief yet amusing riff from JB Smoove (star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), who is easily the funniest actor in the picture, but is relegated to a walk-on in the final cut. Acquiring the greatest amount of screen time in the featurettes is (you guessed it) Steve Harvey, who claims that men give better relationship advice than women. Don’t tell that to Madea.

‘Think Like a Man’ is released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and stars Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Jenkins, Jenifer Lewis, Romany Malco, Gary Owen and Gabrielle Union. It was written by Keith Merryman and David A. Newman and directed by Tim Story. It was released on August 28, 2012. It is rated PG-13. staff writer Matt Fagerholm

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