First – it was hilarious – I laughed out loud and needed that happy ending on love between African American folks.
By Jan Robinson Flint
Tim Story, Director o f Think Like A Man should be commended. The story he told is funny, just laugh out loud funny, the cast looks good and it shared the glamour of Los Angeles on screen, including a fabulous night time skyline. Mr Story had a promotion budget and I will assume learned many a lesson on the way to Think Like A Man, he is one of the folks whom I was truly worried about as he personally sold his films on the sidewalks and in the shops of Leimert Park. This overnight success is long in coming and well deserved for all the work he has put into this art form.
There seems a sense of camaraderie among the cast – no one hogged the screen, the ensemble of 6 couples (kinda sorta) stepped up and stepped back with grace and style, so each could have their story unfold. Gary Owens (what ever happen to him after winning BET comedy show) wife did not appear on screen, and Kevin Hart character ‘s wife (surprise guest appearance by Wendy Williams) only arrived for the final scenes of the movie. That left Taraji, Michael, Meagan, Romany, Jerry, Gabrielle, Regina and Terrence J plenty of room and time to showcase the characters. Yes Steve Harvey had a cameo being interviewed by Sherri Shephard, and yes Jennifer Lewis who has played one too many mentally disturbed mama’s (so that I am starting to believe this is her real life not acting) pulled their weight in Think Like A Man too, but the couples in search of themselves pulled off this light hearted romance. I must say here though Kevin Hart really was over the top, his electricity and hi energy was fabulous, he is simply hilarious and almost stole the show, almost.
Fluff over, let’s take a deeper look into this expose on the politics of race and relationship among African Americans. Where/Why is it that I cannot find a dark skin woman who is middle or working class, even economically gifted to play a positive role in a romantic comedy and get the man. Don’t we deserve love and importantly to see women like ourselves on camera looking good? Colorism is a huge problem in our community and certainly in Hollywood, Think Like A Man demonstrated it is more a problem for women than men, but it is one that needs immediate address with all of its potential to divide our community as it is perpetuated on screen, in classrooms, in courts and job markets.
Of the men, only one job mentioned which he lost stealing a car to catch up with Taraji’s character. While the men must have been working as they lived in fabulous apartments, even the mama’s boy did not live at home. We did not see Black Men Working. So the books’ test question to be posed by women on short and long term goals, was never answered except of course by the one who had a dream of opening a restaurant. Yes the same one who got fired stealing a car and busted being a waiter at an event where Taraji’s COO character was being honored.
Gabrielle Union character is in an inter racial relationship with a white guy who is not working and has strung her along for 9YEARS. Hmmm what message my sisters does one take home from this, are we normalizing inter racial relationships for Black women? If so brothers yall are in trouble, deep deep trouble. Of the women, only one had a job too, so most of the characters in Think Like A Man had no visible means of support but thank goodness at least they were not selling drugs, pimping, ex cons, or other illegitimate forms of money making stereotypes often found in movies featuring African American stories. It would have been good to see some role models of Black folks going to work but that is asking for a lot I know, being in love with each other is good. I will take it for this movie. Speaking of stereo types, only one baby mama and while it was not clear what happen to her son’s father, there was no negative drama, bitterness or hating going on, no job either but taking the good here…
Every one was well dressed, coiffed and on best behavior, with the possible exception of Taraji’s kissing Micheal Ealy character (hmmm seemed a bit more than a Hollywood kiss there but I ain’t trying to start nothing). There was balance in the story with airing both the male and female perspective, as well balance of the whom was at fault in contributing to the breakup of relationships. Yall know they had to break up to get back together for the happy ending right?
Nice surprise with the basketball players from the Clippers and Lakers, as well Lisa Leslie with the Sparks, demonstrating to me we have a director here truly in love with Los Angeles and wanting to highlight our wonderfulness. The scene on the basketball court was super funny though I must admit I did not feel the love from the sports team and that interaction has so much more potential.
As we were walking home from the movie, my daughter wondered out loud about the matching of the ages, mentioning Terrence J was matched with an older woman being a trend for him. And thinking on it, if that was the intention of the story line, it did not make it apparent. Romany and Regina seemed to be more aged suited, while Terrence and Meagan are closer in age to each other however Black women can be ageless for quite a long time and the make up was impeccable. No cougar intentions were felt, and the older man with a younger woman is played out much too much in our communities and as Kevin Hart pointed out in case one was not looking, Romany looked damn good. The pajamas with no shirt scene was yummy.
Chris Brown dropped in for a few scenes, being the irresponsible lover of Meagan Good that drives her to read the book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. He too gets to show off his tattoos and his acting chops though only for a moment. The sound track is great nope no Chris Brown music tune in for John Legend. Sound track was a great match for the movie.
Over all this PG romance was worth the time, there was a balance of male /female energy, it was light, funny, no villains, loving Los Angeles and demonstrates that yes Black people do read and yes we go to the movies too. We lead normal lives, we work hard, play hard, have friends, lovers, education, hopes and dreams and should be able to see them from time to time on the big screen. Shout out to Tim Story for getting this out…looking forward to the next one.