Take a Drink: every time you see a bottle of Moet.
Take a Drink: at every Kevin Hart-centered montage or dance sequence.
Take a Drink: at every basketball reference.
Take a Drink: for every celebrity cameo.
Take a Drink: whenever a white person does or says something dorky.
Take a Drink: every time you hear a song that is over ten years old.
Take a Drink: at every slow-motion walking sequence.
Take a Drink: whenever Gail calls someone.
Take a Drink: whenever one of Zeke’s former lovers surfaces.
Chug: during the Poison music video.
Do a Shot: whenever a character hits (or misses) a jackpot.
By: BabyRuth (Four Beers) –
Because every marginally successful film gets a sequel these days, two years after the sleeper hit Think Like a Man, we get the inevitable follow-up that no one asked for. This time with even more Kevin Hart, which depending on the viewer may or may not be a good thing.
I reviewed the first movie and I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it thanks to the smart writing and engaging cast. I gave it three beers; it would have been a solid two, but Chris Brown was in it and I (obviously) had to take points off for that.
We catch up with the couples we met back then, this time in Las Vegas, for former “Mama’s Boy” Michael (Terrence Jenkins) and “Single Mom” Candace’s (Regina Hall) wedding. Cedric (Kevin Hart, now billed as “And Kevin Hart”) is the best man. This is all due to a misunderstanding- see Michael really asked Dominic (ridiculously good-looking Michael Ealy) to fill the role but Cedric was standing in front of him (he’s short you see) and thought the question was directed at him. Even after all was cleared up, he begged (loudly of course) his way into the position until Michael caved and gave him the honor. That’s really all you need to know. Yeah, there are issues between each of the couples, but all of that is secondary to the VEGAS CRAZINESS.
As in the first movie, the talented and charismatic cast is fun to watch. The chemistry between the couples and the groups of men and women (they split up for the bachelor/bachelorette festivities) is believable. Everyone gets a chance to shine, though some more than others, and there isn’t a weak link in the bunch. The addition of Wendi McLendon-Covey (who if there is any justice in this world will be nominated for and win an Emmy for her hilarious performance on The Goldbergs) was a smart choice.
There are some funny moments, but most of my laugh-out-loud moments were from throwaway lines (“Excuse me sir.”) rather than the big set-ups (usually involving Hart, of course).
Also, there is thankfully no mention of Steve Harvey’s self-help book which the first movie centered around. There is a callback to Harvey, but it’s a one-off gag.
The go-ahead for this film was clearly the result of the super-stardom status Kevin Hart has since attained. His role is much bigger this time, as not only arguably the main character, but also the narrator. An unnecessary narrator at that, usually stating the obvious while adding in weird basketball references that add nothing.
Where the narration would have helped would have been in re-introducing us to the characters of the first movie, which was entertaining at the time, but not memorable enough to be able to recall every member of a large cast two years later. We the audience are just expected to pick up where the last movie left off and know who everyone is.
If you’re planning on seeing this movie, I’ll catch you up without any dumb basketball talk: I already mentioned Michael and Candace and their pending nuptials. Michael’s overbearing mother Loretta (Jenifer Lewis) is also along to cause some tension. “The Dreamer” Dominic (Michael Ealy) and “Woman Who is Her Own Man” Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) are still in love, but facing some difficult career decisions that threaten to geographically tear them apart. “Non-committer” Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and “Girl Who Wants the Ring” Kristen (Gabrielle Union) are now married and trying to conceive (stop me if you’ve heard this one: she’s become so focused on having sex that it stops being sexy and starts getting drill sergeant).
“90 Day Rule Girl” Mya (Meagan Good) and former “Player” Zeke (Romany Malco) are comfortable in their relationship but Zeke’s past comes back to haunt them both. “Happily Married Man” Bennett (Gary Owen) returns too, along with his happily married woman, equally white and nerdy Tish (future Emmy-winner Wendi McLendon-Covey). And then there’s Cedric (Kevin Hart), originally the “Happier Divorced Guy” who reunited with his wife Gail (Wendy Williams) in the last film, but is now once again on a trial separation. There. Would that have been so hard, movie?
Hart’s hysterics are turned up even higher this time around. He’s the Stiffler of the group, outrageous and obnoxious, to the point that it makes the viewer wonder why these people are friends with him in the first place. While the original movie was an ensemble piece, this time everyone plays second fiddle to the silly loud guy. It’s like when a cast member of a sitcom becomes really popular and all subsequent episodes are written around that character resulting in said character going from endearing to grating.
Otherwise known as The Urkel Effect
It’s not Hart’s fault; he’s great at what he does and is very funny and likeable, but his shtick works best in small doses. Returning writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman along with director Tim Story instead subscribe to a more-is-better mentality and the result is pretty much a caricature.
If you’re going to set a movie in Las Vegas you’d better think of some new ideas instead of relying on the same old lazy clichés we’ve seen in every Vegas-based movie in the last twenty years. People drinking too much and making stupid decisions? Check. High-stakes gambling? Check. Someone gets an insanely expensive suite? Check. A full music video smack dab in the middle that grinds the movie to a halt? Okay, hold up, that’s one that hasn’t been done before.
Yes, there is an inexplicable actual “music video” (complete with old-school MTV title tags) set to Bel Biv DeVoe’s 90’s hit “Poison.” It’s a bizarre as it sounds and while it occasionally got a couple chuckles out of me (thanks to the comically-skilled cast), it goes on way too long and reeks of the writers just giving up halfway through and saying “Hey, how about this? Nostalgia!”
There are a few funny moments and the cast is as entertaining and appealing as they were in the first movie, but lazy writing, excessive Vegas-movie clichés, and just too much of the Kevin Hart show make Think Like a Man Too a disappointing follow-up to its predecessor. And the title is stupid and makes no sense. (Why “Too?” Who else is thinking like a man? Just use a damn “2.”)