updated 04/20/2012 AT 2:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/20/2012 AT 4:20 PM ET
There’s a funny, snappy film in Think Like a Man, but you have to sit through an hour of product placement to get there.
The product is comedian Steve Harvey’s 2009 bestseller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, an advice tome that would be sexist except for the fact that it treats men like simple mutts in need of training.
The film shows what happens when frustrated girlfriend Kristen (Gabrielle Union), single mom Candace (Regina Hall), executive Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and bad dater Mya (Meagan Good) use the book’s tactics on a group of basketball buddies, with Harvey himself popping up to guide the audience through the book, chapter by chapter.
Once Man finally gets down to telling its tales of dating purgatory, it’s clear that the cast is enormously likeable, the scenarios are relatable and the plots have solid emotional payoffs.
The film feels too long, but that’s only because we can’t fast-forward through the commercials.