Think Like a Man Too Review: Peeving Las Vegas
The best part of advice is that you don’t have to take it. Maybe that was the reason why I couldn’t quite get on board with the first Think Like a Man, a romantic comedy with an atypically lovable ensemble cast that nevertheless espoused so much of Steve Harvey’s well-intentioned but (if you ask me) kind of “iffy” dating advice that I felt like I had been forced spend two hours adhering to a philosophy that drove me a little nuts. So much of the film’s plot was based on the justification of trickery within supposedly meaningful relationships that, by the end, in the ongoing romantic battle between men and women, it felt like everyone was destined to lose. If only their dignity.
But I was willing to accept that not every movie was for everyone, and that the finer qualities of the first Think Like a Man were certainly enough to elevate Tim Story’s romantic comedy above the rest of the pack. If nothing else, it was a novelty to discover a film in which pretty people date other for the umpteenth time but with a particular point of view.
So it’s a mixed blessing that Think Like a Man Too gives up on Steve Harvey’s dating tome altogether and settles into a simple tale of a bachelor and bachelorette party held simultaneously in Las Vegas, with the “us vs. them” mentality limited to simple one-upsmanship. Which gender is willing, or even able, to go crazier on the night before their wedding? Think Like a Man Too attempts to capitalize on the good will left over from the first film and simply put its charming cast in one rollicking situation after another, with just a little bit of melodrama to keep audiences actually involved. That’s not a terrible idea.
It’s too bad it’s not funny.
There are too many characters and too many subplots in Think Like a Man Too. (Maybe that’s why the title’s got a “too” at the end, since otherwise it makes no sense whatsoever.) Suffice it to say, Michael and Candace (Terrence Jenkins and Regina Hall) are getting married, and they bring the rest of the original cast with them to Las Vegas for one final blowout followed by their nuptials. Every cast member has their share of relationship problems that they miraculously solve on their own, without the aid of Steve Harvey. And Kevin Hart screams a lot.
We had only just figured out what to do with Kevin Hart in the superior About Last Night, but Think Like a Man Too sends him right back into familiar, contemptible territory, screaming like a lunatic with the sort of desperation that usually precedes an attempted suicide. His character Cedric was accidentally named best man at the wedding and has maxed out his credit cards to make sure the bachelor party is a real mother of a blowout. Eventually he realizes just how grievously he has destroyed his finances and sidelines the festivities, trying to win his money back by gambling. Meanwhile his wife appears to be cheating on him, his friends express their disappointment in his selfishness – even though he went bankrupt for these people – and it seems for all the world like he’s on the path to assured self-destruction. His cries are cries for help, and nobody is listening. It’s not funny, it’s just sad, and no amount of caterwauling or jokes making fun of his height can disguise the fact.
There are a few disparate chuckles interspersed throughout Think Like a Man Too – in particular a music video homage that wrecks the fourth wall and a funny cameo by Dennis Haysbert – but like many comedy sequels, this follow-up fails to capture whatever worked about the original by merely placing its heroes in a dumb situation and expecting residual audience sympathy from the earlier, superior film to make them smile. It’s not the cast’s fault: they still have great chemistry, and surely someone told Kevin Hart that whatever the hell he’s doing was a good idea. It’s just another motion picture afterthought; a poorly conceived, undercooked and pointless visitation to a cast of characters who were better off living in the vacuum of the previous installment.