The BOOK, The MOVIE, The CONVERSATION
by Micole Williams
Many would agree that dating in the millennium is a bit…ambiguous. A series of generalized questions such as, “is Black love extinct, are Black professional women able to find quality mates, and can a good man actually be found?” bombarded singles in overwhelming numbers. These questions spread like wildfire across airwaves far-and-wide, painting a bleak picture nearly impossible to interpret. One more question surfaced, and it was, “what’s a sista to do?” Then with the debut of the popular book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, by Steve Harvey, in the title alone, it seemed the answer had arrived.
But the new question was, could this one man have the cure for this theoretical love epidemic?
With his national bestseller and direct approach, household name, comedian, actor, host, producer and author, Steve Harvey, proved he had something!
Since the paradoxical self-help book’s 2009 debut, his remedies have been on many women’s mind. At water-coolers, at beauty shops and in book clubs…it seemed as if everybody and their mama were “literally” talking about the controversial women’s guide to “guy code.”
April 20th, Harvey broke the “black romantic comedy” dry spell at the box office.
Not quite a chick flick, Think Like a Lady is more up “The Wood” and “The Brothers” alley.
With a cute and catchy anthem by mega star, Jennifer Hudson, a relaxing John Legend tune and a cast of favorites: Taraji P. Henson, Michael Ealy, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, and Kevin Hart to name a few, the film came in at Number 1 in its first box-office weekend. Director, Tim Story (Barbershop, Taxi, Fantastic 4) and Producer, Will Packer (Stomp the Yard, Takers, This Christmas) brought this two-sided, romantic comedy to life.
You may be wondering if the book is better than the movie. I’ll just say, at times, it is hard to tell the two apart since so much of the book is shared through Harvey cameos seamlessly inserted here and there. The shrewd businessman sure knows how to make cross-promotion look really good.
His presence is also felt through the jokes; the comedic tone was just right for both gender’s funny bones as well as all audiences. Another thing to notice is that, although it’s a majority Black cast, it’s just as much a universal movie. In fact, the way the film is captured, it puts you in the mind of those with majority white casts: He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day.
The movie does handle those hard-hitting generic questions posed at the brink of the century rather gracefully. The touchy gender subjects can be laughed at by both parties because of the conservative and conscious voices of the characters. But don’t get me wrong, there are some “real” moments that made it far from corny.
There were plenty of “good” guys in the film. I’m more of a dark comedy lover vs. slapstick, so I was worried that Hart would be a bit much, but he is actually really funny. Terrence J was likable and may have more serious roles in his future. And with Romany Malco, all I could think of is, if there were to be another movie about Tupac’s life, he could possibly play him. I’m a die-hard Ealy fan, so I tend to like whatever he does.
Considering all the talk on the lack of opportunities for talented women in Hollywood, this particular aspect makes the movie memorable. Good is “a little” less of a vixen and more human. Union’s character is more low key than past roles. Regina Hall plays her most layered character. For me, Henson’s hair stole the show; she wore healthy hair and she wore it well.
Considering the size of the cast and the genre, the characters were round enough to appreciate. I’m pretty sure everyone can find themselves somewhere in the film as well as some answers to the many love questions still lingering out there.
I loved it! It was entertaining and truthful. The charming movie made 33 million in its first weekend. I’m sure there is also an increase in Harvey’s book sales.