When Think Like a Man is being an awkwardly presented infomercial for Steve Harvey's book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, it's not great. When it shifts to a hilarious story about interesting people maneuvering through the predicament of gender and human nature, it's pretty great. If you can tolerate the first part, just like you would the sales pitch from an unwelcome encyclopedia salesman, your patience will be rewarded.
Reading the book isn't necessary, since its contents are discussed in mostly every scene of the film. The book itself is also in mostly every scene and held by nearly every character, yet it isn't listed in the credits, so I have volunteered to dial SAG's complaint line on behalf of the book since it doesn't have fingers. Anyway, the basic premise is that women need to approach relationships with less emotion and more testosterone. It's all pretty familiar stuff (like men won't marry you until you make them), but there are a few unique catchphrases thrown in that make you remember this book was written by a comedian. For instance, he calls women that men aren't going to marry "sport fish" (who are going to get caught and then thrown back). And also, in a move that has Girl Scouts everywhere wishing there were cuter euphemisms for vaginas, Harvey advises women to hold onto their "cookie" for 90 days into a relationship. This movie mentions cookies so often, Mrs. Fields, Famous Amos, and The Cookie Monster are listed as consultants on the film.
Kevin Hart is the Lighthouse of Hilarity in the movie, so no matter how peculiar it gets with those random shots of Steve Harvey breaking the fourth wall, it always ends up somewhere funny. And much to the credit of screenwriters Keith Merryman and David A. Newman (who also did Friends with Benefits), this is one of the few recent ensemble comedies where I felt like the characters were actually distinguishable (are you taking notes, Garry Marshall?). All of the couples are facing different, everyday issues. Some of them are in long-term commitments (Jerry Ferrara and Gabrielle Union), but filling their apartment with anime posters instead of kids. Meagan Good and Romani Malco are the couple just getting to know each other and doing the Am I Gonna Offer You a Nightcap or Not Dance. There's also single mom Regina Hall, fighting for supremacy over her new beau's mother, and the uber-masculine, uber-successful Taraji P. Henson who falls in love with a sexy man who owns an unsexy car (Michael Ealy). They also crammed reality TV star LaLa Anthony in there, and she's the only one who doesn't get to hold the book.