This particular man thinks only in clichés

Based on the real-life self-help book, Act Like a Lady – Think Like a Man, Fantastic Four director Tim Story uses Steve Hardy’s best-selling dating how-to book for women to show the alleged success women can enjoy by taking relationship advice about men from a man, instead of a woman. A ‘traitor’ to his sex, Hardy gives men’s secrets away to the enemy (women, obviously), those being, basically, that a man is biologically programmed to want sex, while women want marriage. So, the simple path to marital bliss is paved with abstinence and adventure, and one we get to follow with four troubled couples.

There’s confusion, lying and manipulation, but with Hardy’s help, every woman eventually gets her man.

If you can get over the blatant sexism of the Victorian-age premise, you might be able to enjoy some of the funny, dirty jokes that come from a bright cast who do the best they can with a wafer-thin script. Stand-up comedian Kevin Hart is slumming it after the brilliance of Modern Family, though he has some funny moments as ‘the (un)happily divorced guy’ who is as hyperactive and inappropriate as a terrier in heat. Taraji P Henson gives a credible performance that goes beyond her skeleton of a character in Lauren, a driven executive who is painted as bitter and vapid (and single of course). She calls herself “strong”, her friend calls her “too strong” – enter a strapping young lad to come and save her from her successful self. But here’s the miracle: despite their stale set-up, Henson and the ridiculously sexy Michael Ealy have real chemistry, and their scenes are some of the few that contain any sense of intimacy or romance.  

In what was probably a bid to subvert the overhanging chauvinistic attitude, writers Keith Merryman and David Newman have attempted to create four bright and vivacious female leads, admittedly with moderate success. But how is it that four smart and articulate women all fall into the same female clichés that have been around since the dawn of time? What you’re left with is a predictable battle of the sexes romcom that has little more to offer than a few soon-forgotten chuckles.  

Think Like A Man (3)

Dir: Tim Story; US romantic comedy, 2012, 122 mins; Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart, Taraji P Henson, Meagan Good, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara
Premieres December 6
Playing at Fisketorvet