Think Like a Man would appear to be a movie for women, but it’s for men. It is not one of those movies made for women and if the men come alone that’s fine. This movie is about different stages in relationships and gender development, how we look at each other and ourselves. Directed by Tim Story and narrated by Kevin Hart. The movie gives ample screen time to the cast of Jerry Ferrara, Megan Good, Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P Henson, Gabrielle Union, Romany Malco, and intermixes commentary from Steve Harvey.

Trailers for movies often say that they have something in them for everybody; this is the one movie that actually delivers. This movie is about dating and relationships, pure and simple, the audience is treated or not to varied archetypes the Player, The Mamma Boy, The Girl Who Wants the Ring,  The Woman Who Is Her Own Man, etc. Apart from some familiar scenarios (to many men), the movie manages to not only peg the psyche of men, but women as well. Yet somehow in between the gags, comedy, double narration, product placement and drama you manage to see bits and pieces of yourself, your partner or a friend that you can laugh at from a safe distance, that’s when the movie has you invested.

Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, provides the ladies with a rule book of how men think and the game is afoot, once the men find out that their relationships are now being driven by Steve’s book, they plan to turn the tables on the women…basically they plan to pretend to be what the women want only to get what they want. There are plenty of lines for women to be upset about, and a lot of dumb situations men won’t appreciate and some of the premises are manipulative, insincere, in fact they are all pretty shallow, the problem– this is how people really behave and think.

Director Tim Story is to be commended for managing multiple the story-lines and showing each African-American characters as desirable. Not only are the actresses beautiful, sexy and amazingly bright, watching the film you can tell they actually like their roles and that translates on screen. The characters engage us with their hopes, dreams, failing and triumphs, in parts the film is almost magical as the characters often light up the screen. Kevin Hart’s comedic genius is on full display, but so is the subtle humor of Bennett “The Happily Married Man”, I have no idea why commercials for this movie didn’t really plug the substantial presence of the white characters. The film is a tad long, over-narrated and the mamma’s boy story gets drawn out, yet it is arguably the best romantic comedies ever made. The way the male characters played off of one another, how they played basketball (one horribly), how they hilariously talked about their problems, the way they bonded over their women troubles even the various male archetypes reminded me of another book “It Ain’t Just the Size”, but let’s not go there.

The soundtrack is excellent. The casting choices are perfect, except LaLa Vasquez. Each of these four relationship is uniquely different, well because people are, I just don’t understand how Kristen could have gotten rid of Jeremy’s Voltron Lion figure masterpiece… but I digress. The movie is not about how to find true love or even being in a healthy relationship; ultimately, Think Like a Man is about being real, not just with your partner, but more importantly with yourself. Think Like a Man manages to accomplish what Tyler Perry’s movies have never been able to …bring men and women together.

8.5/10

by Push Nevahda

Black ghetto life is so absurd, pointless, hopeless and meaningless that one has to laugh to keep from crying, or go to the dance club to vent the frustration, fear, anxiety and anger rather than let life’s tragicomic existence send us to the asylum or the grave. The tragicomic motif is best seen in black comedy and black music. Black comedy validates and affirms the black ghetto experience while black music cushions the pain of such an experience, sustains the faith, and redirects the heart and mind from things that would otherwise propel one towards suicide, homicide or fratricide.

As one who has spent much of his early life living in the inner-city, I am personally aware of the tragicomic mode of ghetto-life, and the inter-play between music and comedy in such a situation. The way in which the black comedians (especially the ones on BET) bear witness to what is funny yet comforting to black folk because we are glad that somebody understands the depth of our struggle. In other words, black comedians validate the ghetto experience therefore reaffirming our sanity (at which sometime or another one is certain they have lost).  Much of Black life contains those salient dimensions of the tragicomic experience where we are often left to cry and laugh – or laugh to keep from crying – of our dilemma.

The late comic genius Richard Pryor was not necessarily trying to be comical but rather tell what it was like to be black in America. The humor in Pryor’s stand-up was in how raw and rich his stories, analogies, anecdotes and characters seemed – particularly to whites, most of who were completely out of touch with the everyday strivings of black ghetto life. For black audiences, Pryor’s humorous testimonials revealed the essence of what it meant to be black in America. Black folks laughed because Pryor had the gall to be so bold with the truth. Too, blacks realized through Pryor that they’d actually survived and strived through tumultuous times (or, as Curtis Mayfield would say, they managed to “keep keepin’ on”.)

Music is the language of black folk. It is how we articulate ourselves. Black music sustains blacks in the ghetto. Especially inner-city blacks, for whom life can be so ridiculous, that one has to go to the dance club to unwind from the long and arduous week of working, hustling, stealing, conning, begging, pillaging, scheming, blaming, cussing, and doing whatever else it takes to keep ones head above sea-level. So, when the weekend finally arrives, it’s time to release the pent-up frustration and anger, and let it go. And what better way to let it all go than with the titillating elixir of Hennessey, and the Isley Brothers soothing, soulful, and syrupy love ballad, Voyage To Atlantis. And, for the true bona-fide, dedicated, unionized, card-carrying member of the ghetto elite there is nothing comparable to sitting in the club listening to R. Kelly sing about the complex events and dramatic moments of black ghetto love, sex, lies and romance. This is what R. Kelly means when he sings in “Happy People”: “Where do we go soon as the weekend gets here/The club/Why?/ To party and have some fun/What is it that, Can come and take away all your stress, tell me/Music/No further questions, you have passed my test…”

I’d personally note R. Kelly – along with the rappers – as one of few artists to have fully grasped the tragicomic experiences of black ghetto life. For Kelly, the dance club serves as an alternative to the dangerous and frightening imminence of soul-death and ghetto-murder. Shuckin’, jivin’, gossip, conversations, afro-rhythmic dancing (aka ball-roomin’, steppin’ and the hustle), stress-quenchin’ drinking, and soul-stirring music necessarily beset the place and space for blacks to come together and soothe, caress, stroke, and embrace one another’s pains, aches, and other daily sufferings. In other words, for Kelly, the club – like church – becomes a sanctuary of healing, praising, testimony, and conviviality. Both the church and the club serve as psycho-social retreats for black flight from vicious societal bombardment, rejection, discrimination, and inequality – which is why most saved-and-sanctified folk feel just as comfortable in the club as they do the church. (As a matter-of-fact, most sanctified folk I know often head straight to the club the moment church services end.)

So, when we think of how black folks in the inner city cope with the loss of factory jobs, the rise in unemployment, poverty, homelessness, missed-meal cramps, high murder rates, thugs, bad kids, babymommadrama (yes, that’s a word), lousy politicians and school systems, ineffective protestations against the machines-of-urban-disruption, inequality, no quality, meaninglessness, hopelessness, etc., understand the centrality of BET and television shows like, DEF Comedy Jam and ComicView; understand the cultural necessity neighborhood hotspots and dance-clubs like Yesterdays, Floods and  Mr. Mikes (Detroit), Rain (Las Vegas), Liv (Miami), The Savoy and Club Mayan (Los Angeles), Santos Party House (New York), or the Halo Lounge and the Velvet Room (Atlanta); and understand the genius comical commentary of artists like Richard Pryor, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock, Cedric the Entertainer, and R. Kelly in the lives of common ordinary black folk.

Even if you hate Selento’ Watch Me (Whip/Nae/Nae) song, you must realize it is the Electric Slide,it is the Cupid Shuffle for this generation. Go to any outing and watch how that song brings children together, it unifies them, it is how they cope. For us, music, song, dance, and comedy will always be the vehicles through which we most freely express, articulate, and understand our plights and dilemmas. And on that note, that is “The Reason Why the Colored American Spends So Much Time in the Hood, Laughing and Dancing at the Club, While Drinking His 40 Ounce and Listening to R Kelly”  

Push Nevahda is an author, critical book reviewer, feared intellectual and freelance writer. Get to know him well…

Some people felt that I was being too hard, or one-sided with my post The Man Rules. Here I have decided to decode some common phrases that men use when speaking to women. I wrote this to give women some much needed insight into ManSpeak. This list is in no particular order.

I don’t want a serious relationship right now.
This is relative to mental age. If he’s a “youngin” then he’s just setting you up for the booty call. If he has sense then he means I ONLY WANT A RELATIONSHIP with a woman who already has her act together, which most likely isn’t you… which is why he’s telling you this.

I want an independent woman.
This also depends on mental age. If he’s a “youngin” then most likely he’s just saying that because it sounds good, he thinks you want to hear this or he’s gauging your response. If he has sense then he means that he wants a woman who doesn’t get upset about petty things and who knows how to keep her head when things get tough or confusing.

Hello/ Hi/What’s up?
Do you want to sleep with me?

You want me to come over?
If I come over are we going to have sex?

I’m a virgin.
I am a virgin, as far as you know.

I’ve been celibate for 3 years.
I’ve been celibate for “3” weeks and I didn’t mean to write that in months.

I don’t like that.
Really, I don’t like that!

I don’t want any (more) children.

I really don’t want any(more) children!

Books that are changing everything

Times are tough.
This statement has a few meanings. It could mean that I date a lot so I wont have enough to take you out. Or that I have multiple children that I have to support so I wont have enough to take you out. Or a combination of the two. Either way he’s not trying to pay.

I’m a rapper.
I am unemployed.

Announcing that he has Washed the clothes/Cleaned/Took out the trash.
Foreplay is now over.

I had to leave my ‘ex’ she couldn’t handle a real man.
I got dumped, and I cried about it in the car.

I’m an author.
I’m broke, but I’ve got skills.

Would you mind if I poured you some wine?

I have no idea what I am doing, but I’m trying really hard.

I cleaned the whole house.
I tidied up a bit.

Hello baby/dear/honey/darling/love.
Do you want to sleep with me again?

Nice shoes/dress.
Do I have any chance of having sex with you? (I mean really what the hell does he know about fashion)

She’s cool as hell.
She is exactly what I have been looking for.

I like women who are physical and affectionate.
I like to be touched, but don’t go overboard.

I need to be alone right now.
I want a woman who will make me FEEL better when I’m with her than I do in my everyday life as a single man and since you’re not her…bounce.

Can I call you?
Let me present my resume and you can determine if I can have sex with you?

You ain’t gonna give a brother your number?
Please, don’t embarrass me in front of all these people.

Good Morning.
Is it too early to see if I have a shot?

Hey “derogatory word”!
I have no clue how to speak, act or treat a woman, but do I still have a shot?

I’ve got to get up early in the morning.
This is often uttered when it is pretty clear that sex is going to go down, so I am setting up my exit strategy, so that I don’t have to sleep over.

I’ve got somewhere to go.
I have nowhere to go, but I rather be somewhere else or be with someone else.

I appreciate it.
Ladies don’t get it twisted this was hard for him to say so believe that it is sincere.

Now remember this list is a generalization and does not necessarily apply to “your” man, but it might. On a side note: if you are flirting with us, even in the least of possible ways, the possibility of having sex with you will be entertained, so don’t get upset when you are the one flirting with us.

The Man Rules The Woman Rules