June 23, 2014. 2012 brought us “Think Like a Man,” a painful romantic comedy that served as a two-hour commercial for a book of dubious relationship advice by comedian Steve Harvey. The film told the stories of four couples in rocky relationships. All four stories followed pretty much the same formula. The women used the book to secretly gain an advantage over the men (because the book supposedly has that power). Then the men used the book to secretly gain an advantage over the women.
The women found out that the men were using the book to manipulate them, which made them feel used. The couples broke up, but then they got back together like clockwork. Actually, the selling point of the movie wasn’t the relationships or even the book, it was Kevin Hart as a mutual friend of the men “provided comic relief” at every opportunity. And by “provided comic relief” I mean he acted like an obnoxious little twerp in the way that only Kevin Hart can.
How comes “Think Like a Man Too,” which sees all the couples in Las Vegas for a wedding. All the relationships are tested over the course of the weekend, but there’s hardly any attempt for profundity this time, just a straight-up Vegas romantic comedy. There are bachelor and bachelorette parties, casino gambling, a desperate need for cash, club dancing, arrests and all manner of trouble with the wedding itself. Almost all traces of Steve Harvey and his book are gone, save for an admittedly clever way of shoehorning him in during the film’s epilogue. But if the movie is going to break so much from its source material, why make it at all? My guess is because it gave the actors an excuse to goof around in Las Vegas.
Here we go with the breakdown of the storylines: Michael (Terrence Jenkins) is getting married to Candice (Regina Hall), even though his mother (Jennifer Lewis) doesn’t care much for the divorcee who is already a mother herself. Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) is scared at the prospect of having a child with his wife Kristen (Gabrielle Union). Zeke (Romany Malco) is scared at the prospect of proposing to his girlfriend Mya (Meagan Good), especially with Sin City constantly reminding him of how much fun he had in his promiscuous early days. Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) are considering taking jobs thousands of miles apart from one another Bennett (Gary Owen) and Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey who was in “Bridesmaids” so she’s been to this wedding comedy dance before) are a boring couple who take advantage of his rare opportunity to let loose. And yes, Kevin Hart is back as Cedric, the annoying friend who takes it upon himself to direct traffic as the best man. This is the kind of movie where writers think that bouncing around between multiple storylines will make people forget that none of them are interesting. Few people if any are going to be fooled by this tactic.
I almost considered giving “Think Like a Man Too” a star and a half just because it’s so inoffensive. I’ll even say that the odd joke does land, usually involving the lame-o couple (there’s a curious running gag involving the husband wanting to go see “Jersey Boys” on stage and everyone shooting him down; meanwhile this movie is opening on the same weekend as the bombing movie version of “Jersey Boys”). And unlike its predecessor, it doesn’t have anything questionable or dangerous to say about relationships because it doesn’t have anything original to say about relationships. But because it is so unoriginal, there’s no reason for this movie to exist aside from money-grubbing reasons like brand recognition and Kevin Hart’s inexplicable star power. Speaking of Hart, the real reason I give this movie one star is that anything remotely funny about it is cancelled out by his grating presence.
One star out of five.