The mating game turns to war when a gang of Los Angeles likely lads finds the laydeez second guessing their romantic stratagems with the help of a relationship self-help guide. Director Tim Story winningly applies the fast-talking wit of Barbershop to the battle of the sexes in a rom-com with heart. Among the floundering romeos is Romany Malco's velvet-smooth seducer and Michael Ealy's aspirational chef but leading the pack in the gruesomely sexist stakes is Kevin Hart's bitter divorcee.
The winning premise of this superior rom-com is the idea that women besieged by horny dudes use a relationship self-help book not as a handy guide but a combat manual in the battle of the sexes.
Steve Harvey's best-selling Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man - a sort of cross between Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and Machiavelli's in-house guide - is the instruction doctrine of choice for a group of Afro-American women.
These range from Taraji P Henson's ball-breaking corporate executive (who can't conceive of dating a man who can't match her salary) to Meagan Good's Mya, a commitment-obsessed career girl who strictly enforces the 90-day no sex rule.
Attempting to snare these seemingly unattainable hotties are lowly kitchen chef Dominic (Ealy), a decent cove, and smooth-tongued stud Zeke (Malco), bit of a rotter who - together with Terrence Jenkin's momma's boy and Jerry Ferrara's perpetual teen - hit on the idea of using Harvey's guide to their own advantage.
Although this plays out pretty conventionally - guy wins girl, guy loses girl, guy and girl reconcile their differences and get it on - it's elevated by rounded performances and a script sharper than one of Zeke's suits.
The presence of Gary Owen's middle class white dad sets up some neat sideswipes at casual racism and the dialogue admirably acknowledges black homophobia without turning into a preachy sermon.
Black - or indeed any - audiences gagging from Tyler Perry's sugary depiction of Afro-American middle classes will welcome director Story's wittier approach to the shifting sands of courtship.
This is one area where you can't do it by the book.