Think Like a Man Too

Directed By: Tim Story

Starring: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J., Romany Malco, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gary Owen, Gabrielle Union, La La Anthony, and Kevin Hart

I'm sure my reviews of Grudge Match and Ride Along put me squarely in the corner of what some fans might deem the Kevin Hart Haters Club, but I'd like to offer a different perspective.  The pint-sized comedian typically delivers big laughs, but in the last seven or eight months at the box office, we've seen Kevin Hart on steroids.  He's been overexposed, and his energetic brand of comedy has worn out its welcome.  He needs to take a break from the spotlight and focus on crafting some fresh, creative material.  He's got three movies he's headlined in 2014, a reality TV show, and those annoying Vitaminwater commercials about “hydrating the hustle”.  This weekend's Think Like a Man Too is just another example of why he needs to take a break.

Lady Luck has struck.  Michael (Terrence J.) and Candace (Regina Hall) are getting married in Las Vegas this weekend.  All their friends are coming to town to celebrate this joyous occasion with them.  Cedric (Kevin Hart) is serving as Michael's best man, while Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) is serving as Candace's maid of honor.  The guys and girls are going to go their separate ways tonight for the bachelor and bachelorette parties respectively.  Cedric is concocting a special night of debauchery starting in the $40,000/night Constantine Suite he's booked at Caesar's Palace.  Meanwhile, Lauren tries to put together an even bigger bash despite having an antagonistic anchor in the form of Michael's mom Loretta (Jenifer Lewis).

The party lifestyle of America’s playground may not suit all these married or dating couples.  For instance, Zeke (Romany Malco) is trying to move past his legendary days in Sin City as "Zeke the Freak".  His girlfriend Maya (Meagan Good), on the other hand, wants him to open up and let her in.  This couple isn’t the only example though.  After seeing each other for the first time in ten days, things quickly get complicated for Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren.  However, Lauren is preoccupied with a job offer in New York that could threaten their future together in Los Angeles.  Lastly, Kristen (Gabrielle Union) has Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) on a pretty tight sex schedule.  Having waited nine years into their relationship to have children, she's hell bent on popping one out in the near future.

Think Like a Man Too is the Kevin Hart Show and not a real sequel to its 2012 predecessor Think Like a Man.  Like most other ensemble comedies, this film opens by cutting to various characters' storylines.  When we arrive on Hart's character Cedric, however, director Tim Story begins focusing exclusively on him. I understand that Kevin Hart is a big box office draw, but that's no excuse for turning the rest of the stars we have on hand into what amounts to being nothing more than his supporting cast.  The strength of the original film is that it weaves a robust tale around a variety of intriguing characters.  Every cast member has a chance to shine.  Here, Story wastes the comedic talents of cast members like Romany Malco, Regina Hall, and especially Taraji P. Henson.

My other gripe with Think Like a Man Too is the writing.  It's entirely too formulaic and manufactured.  I realize this is now the third film I've called entirely too predictable in a row now, but the shoe fits here as well.  It's a repackaged story wrapped in a big shiny red bow.  Guy and girl go somewhere to get married. Stereotypical bachelor and bachelorette parties ensue in Las Vegas.  Each couple's storyline has a sweet, sugary ending perfectly crafted for Hollywood.  The plot just feels forced and takes away from what could have been a much stronger film.  On top of this, Story and his writers infuse the film with plenty of cheap pops based on film and television references that are timed just a little too well for the movie’s release.  This includes the likes of Game of Thrones, Godzilla, Transformers (i.e. Negatron), and Jersey Boys.  This cheap ploy does not get by me.

Unfortunately, I have to give Think Like a Man Too a 0.09% rating.  It doesn't live up to its predecessor by wasting the immense talent it has on deck.  Have a few vodka martinis with this one.