'Think Like a Man': What the Critics Are Saying

 

Screen Gems’ Think Like a Man is in the middle of an unexpectedly strong opening weekend, currently projected to take the top spot with $28 million to $30 million. Though the adaptation of Steve Harvey’s best-selling relationship advice book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, will likely win the weekend, did it succeeded in wining over the critics?

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The Tim Story-directed film features Harvey as a best-selling author, whose book purports to teach women how men really think. The film follows several women who get their hands on the book, and seek to use its wisdom to improve their love lives.

With a Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer score of 49%, reviews for Think Like a Man were mixed.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Michael Rechtshaffen wrote the film “hits its amusing marks,” but often feels “more like a lecture than an intended romp.” He praised the “attractive cast,” which includes Gabrielle Union, Jerry Ferrara, Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Terrence J. But Rechtshaffen felt the story was hurt by Harvey,  who appears onscreen to give timely advice.  

“Having Harvey frequently dispensing advice from his book can be a real distraction from the fictional characters and their stories, not to mention resemble something that could be confused for shameless self-promotion,” Rechtshaffen wrote.

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In his two-star review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert mused the film “must be one of the greatest examples of product placement in history.”  He wrote the film’s biggest mistake was taking Harvey’s advice seriously.

“This might have worked as a screwball comedy or a satire, but can you believe for a moment in characters naive enough to actually live their lives following Steve Harvey's advice?” Ebert wrote.

He added it was “depressing” to see the film’s “superb” cast limited by such a formula.

In her positive review, Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday wrote the film ranks among the great African American romantic comedies of the past few years, if only because it “seeks to rescue contemporary black storytelling from the clutches of men in drag and misogynist moralizing.”

Hornaday noted though the film’s “high-achieving, self-aware women” are presented with dating challenges only Harvey’s advice can solve, one needn’t buy into the comedian's "portrayal of sexual gamesmanship and manipulation” to enjoy the film.

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New York Times reviewer Rachel Saltz found Think Like a Man “occasionally funny,” though she complained “its dirty riffs — most provided by Kevin Hart as the Happily Divorced Guy — are as formulaic as its earnest parts.”

Saltz added: “The movie isn’t liable to surprise you. Nor will it bore or offend you, even if you find Mr. Harvey’s shtick more old-school sexist than old-school courtly.”

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