Entertainment Entertainment Movies

'Think Like a Man' review: Funny attacks in a frustratingly reductive battle of the sexes

**1/2 (out of four)

After seeing these stereotypes on screen approximately 100 billion times, everyone should be tired of movies that position men as immature, commitment-phobic slackers who need to shape up and women as uptight, long-term planners exasperated with the deception of the opposite sex. Modern relationship insight? No, that’s a weak stand-up routine from 25 years ago.

Extrapolated from Steve Harvey’s book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment,” this intermittently funny comedy treats Harvey’s book like a fountain of wisdom, so much so that characters frequently begin sentences with, “Steve says.”

The women, including Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and Regina Hall, use it as a guide to understanding their guys. The men, including Romany Malco, Michael Ealy, Terrence J and Jerry Ferrara, seek to use this leaked info against the girls.

Those are a few of many discomforting elements of “Think Like a Man.” Male/female relationships unfold as a constant power struggle, and the guys instinctively choose lying over truth every time. If your girlfriend wants you to apply for that job, either do it or don’t do it. Watching someone lie about that and waiting until he gets caught slows down the two-hour ensemble piece that runs at least 20 minutes too long.

As the divorced guy looking to celebrate his freedom, Kevin Hart scores some of the film’s biggest laughs, in addition to a few hysterical digs at the broad comedy/sentimentality formula of Tyler Perry’s films. Even if “Think Like a Man” undergoes a similarly rocky transition between homophobic jokes and lines like “This bitch is crazy” before arriving at the honest point that, when the macho bravado falls away, these guys admit that they do what they do for their women because they want to, not because they have to.

Too often, though, the movie’s peddling generalized gender roles and racial behavior as universal fact, in the white-guys-are-dorky-and-powerful-women-are-too-strong-and-intimidating department. The film’s one aspect no one will disagree with, however, comes from the casting of Chris Brown as a sleazy, insincere dude who women should avoid at all costs. If he thinks that’s having fun with his persona, the joke’s on him.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 7:30 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais


Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge
    Man fatally shot after argument over woman at South Loop lounge

    An argument over a woman led to one man being killed and another wounded during a shooting inside a South Loop music lounge early Saturday, police said.

  • Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise
    Oklahoma fraternity's racist chant learned on a cruise

    Members of a University of Oklahoma fraternity apparently learned a racist chant that recently got their chapter disbanded during a national leadership cruise four years ago that was sponsored by the fraternity's national administration, the university's president said Friday.

  • In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing
    In NYC building collapse, mayor cites 'inappropriately' tapped gas line; 2 missing

    Someone may have improperly tapped a gas line before an explosion that leveled three apartment buildings and injured nearly two dozen people, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday as firefighters soaked the still-smoldering buildings and police searched for at least two missing people.

  • Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden
    Emanuel uses borrowing to cope with Daley's debt burden

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel has reduced spending and increased fines, fees and certain taxes to shrink the chronic budget deficits left over from his predecessor, Richard M. Daley.

  • Six Flags Great America's lost attractions
    Six Flags Great America's lost attractions

    Not every ride's the Willard's Whizzer. That iconic coaster debuted in 1976 when Marriott's Great America, now Six Flags Great America, in Gurnee, Ill., first opened. And it's still popular today. But for every Whizzer there's a Tidal Wave, Shockwave or Z-Force, rides existing only in memory.

  • Denim's just getting started
    Denim's just getting started

    Five years ago, denim-on-denim defied all of the dire warnings in the "Undateable" handbook: Instead of evoking John Denver or Britney Spears in her misstyled youth, chambray shirts paired with darker blue jeans became as cool as actor Johnny Depp and street-style heroine Alexa Chung.