Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'Think Like a Man'

Trailer Truth: Do the Ads Help or Hurt 'Think Like a Man'

Apr 20, 2012

I never watch a trailer until after I’ve seen the movie, and I also attempt to avoid as much news as possible. Then I compare what I knew, to what you knew. Let’s find out if what we see in the trailer is what we get, and if there is any advantage to going in fresh. (There will be spoilers.)

What I Knew Before: I avoided the trailer, but Kevin Hart worked hard to make sure I knew Think Like a Man existed. I was on a short-lived entertainment/news show in Portland on KOIN Local 6. Hart was a guest since he was in town doing stand-up. He briefly told me about the film off-camera, and what I mainly noticed is he has the power to turn his personality on and off. Months later he was playing in the NBA All-Star 2012 Celebrity Game, pitching the movie when possible. He's also shown up on "Inside the NBA" in those awkward promotions/hanging out things. In all instances, except that off-camera moment, Hart's personality was switched into the "on" category. It's like Kevin James making weight jokes. It just feels forced.

What I Knew After: Think Like a Man is based on a self-help book called "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man" written by Steve Harvey. "Based" is a strong word. It's almost like a companion piece, because in the film they are constantly reading, referring, using and quoting the book. It's stereotypes (the Player, the Momma's Boy, the Happily Married Man, the Happily Divorced Man), but luckily, it's stereotypes done pretty well. They even bash Tyler Perry just a little bit. The film has multiple story lines from a group of friends like "The Non-Committer vs. The Girl Who Wants a Ring." It's a little odd that not only do we have Harvey talking directly to us, we get more and more of a Hart voice-over as the film goes along. Hart manages to be somewhat in control and funny. The film works really well until we hit the part of the romantic comedy formula where everyone has to break up and attempt to get back together. Also, this isn't a black ensemble romantic comedy. It's an ensemble, with a few white characters sprinkled in. Just like the vast majority of films are about white people with a few other races sprinkled in.

What You Knew: Hart and his friends are on the basketball court, suddenly standing up to Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) and a few other pros. Chris Brown sneaks out on a woman (because you need another reason to hate Brown). We see the failings of men in certain situations and finally get to the ladies (with the help of Harvey). "Act like a lady, but think like a man" the ladies say, and I'm pretty sure me just writing that sold a few more copies of the book. Voiceover: NOW ONE BOOK IS CHANGING THE GAME. The ladies start taking notes and asking men about their goals. It's from the director of Barbershop and producer of This Christmas. We then learn the guy who says he's a chef is a caterer. Once again, we're told this is based on something Steve Harvey did. Finally, the tables turn and the men find out every single woman is using Harvey's rules against them. Hart confesses his love to someone on the phone, we're given ten actor's names in quick succession (to show you it's an ensemble). Hart finishes it off by talking directly to the audience about following the film on Facebook. I really hope that isn't a trend in trailers.

Trailer Truth: Heavy sigh. That's exactly what I would have thought if I'd seen the trailer before the film. I'm not even talking about Brown's involvement. Luckily, he's a side character and not respected (just like in real life). They walk you through the entire movie, show key moments about what the third act is all about, and only show Hart being "outrageous." He's not even the lead, he's just one in the cast. Hart sincerely does a good job in this film, mainly because he shows some range. He's not always going at 110 percent. I'm really surprised the trailer focuses on the role of the book as much as it does. Every time they do it, it feels like they are simply trying to sell more copies of a comedic self-help book. The film's game concept is actually tailor-made for a trailer, like "The Mamma's Boy vs. The Single Lady." In the film they even flash that on the screen, why not the trailer? Showing exactly how the chef/caterer fails is unnecessary. Showing Hart's final confession in the restroom is terrible. Based on the trailer, I would have avoided the film. It doesn't show how cleaver Think Like a Man is capable of being.

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