By Samantha Ofole-Prince
Director Tim Story enjoys making ensemble flicks. Whether it’s the cult classic “Barbershop” in 2002, the superhero movie “Fantastic Four,” in 2005 or the sequel “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” ensemble movies are his favorite flicks.
“It’s always fun when there are multiple stories and conversations being had, and there is something about ensemble pieces that I just love,” Story explains. ”I gravitate towards those types of movies and I love it when you can have multiple stories.”
Story’s latest flick “Think Like a Man” is an ensemble piece about a miscellany of hapless romantics all searching for love. Based on the bestselling book by comedian and television host Steve Harvey, there are plenty of familiar faces that include Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and comedian Kevin Hart, who portray a legion of hopeless romantics, cynics, and scoundrels of love.
The movie follows four interconnected men whose love lives are shaken up after the ladies they are pursuing buy Steve Harvey’s book and start taking his advice to heart. When they realize they have been betrayed by one of their own, they conspire using the book’s insider information to turn the tables and teach the women a lesson of their own.
Cheerful and undeniably romantic, this nimble ensemble has all the right ingredients for a laugh-out-loud comedy. There’s a ladies man, a dreamer, a cynic, a mommies boy, a happily married guy, and a cute single mom.
Taraji Henson plays a successful businesswoman who is determined to land an equally successful man while Michael Ealy plays her cash-strapped love interest. Gabrielle Union’s character Kristen is frustrated with her live-in boyfriend’s lack of ambition, and Meagan Good is Mya, a beautiful single woman who employs one of Harvey’s tactics the ninety-day rule to weed out players.
Every member of this ensemble plays their roles suitably, although the standout in the film is Kevin Hart, who plays a cynic called Cedric. Hart was one of the first actors cast in the film and was given a lot of free reign to bring his comedy chops to the role, which results in many funny moments.
“What’s so great about Kevin is he knows storytelling quite well and he’s pretty seasoned at it,” Story says. “We talked a lot about what the comic beats are, and he slam dunked it. You don’t have to worry about him being funny. If you ever needed a joke, you could just go over to Kevin.”
The movie’s true strength is in its pacing, and despite its large cast and a 120 min runtime, the film does not come off as cluttered, and allows room for its characters to grow.
“It touches people and more than anything, it’s entertaining and that is what you get from start to finish. People will laugh through a lot of the jokes,” Union adds.
The premise is relatable, the dialogue is humorous and the performances are apt.
Enjoyable and endearing, there is probably something for everybody in this movie as it is a pretty good comedy, and will keep the spectator laughing-out-loud right through the credits.
Opens April 20, 2012