One sure takeaway from the urban rom-com "Think Like a Man": If you weren't aware comedian Steve Harvey has a best-selling book, "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," you will be.
The book is shoved down viewers' throats with shots of characters reading it, discussing it, fighting over it — even scenes of Harvey quoting from it.
"Think Like a Man" also proves that romantic stories from African-American perspectives still exist outside of Tyler Perry films. (There's a fun nod to Perry when Michael Ealy references a character he played in Perry's "For Colored Girls.")
In the movie directed by Tim Story, couples meet, hook up and break up. The men are lumped into types at the onset: There's the Player, Zeke (Romany Malco); the Mama's Boy, Michael (Terrence Jenkins); the Dreamer, Dominic (Ealy); the Noncommittal, Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara); the Happily Divorced Guy, Cedric (Kevin Hart, in a breakout comic performance); and the Happily Married Guy, Bennett (Gary Owen).
The young Michael meets older Kandace (Regina Hall), who draws disapproval from Michael's mother, Loretta (Kinloch native Jenifer Lewis). Recently fired cook Dominic woos executive Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) but fears telling her who he really is. Zeke meets Mya (Meagan Good), who is holding out sexually as part of her "90-day rule." Jeremy doesn't see the obvious — that his live-in Kristen (Gabrielle Union) is waiting on a ring.
And so it goes, with the women navigating their entanglements based on what they read in Harvey's book. The men discover the book and use Harvey's words to give the women what they want so the men, in turn, can get what they want.
Despite the crass book promotion, the overlong film is harmless romantic fun that's well played.
Among many are cameos by Kelly Rowland, Sherri Shepherd, Keri Hilson, Ron Artest, Bruce Bruce, La La Anthony and, more notably, Wendy Williams as a surprise character and Chris Brown as a one-night stand gone wrong for Mya.
"Think Like a Man"
Three stars (out of four) • Rating PG-13 • Run time 2:00 • Content Sexual content, some crude humor and brief drug use