Thursday, June 19, 2014

Think Like A Man Too Review

Aside from being partly a product placement for Steve Harvey’s relationship book, “Think Like A Man” (directed by Tim Story) was a worthwhile romantic ensemble comedy in which a group of men and women competed against each other to be the top dogs in their relationships. Yes it was clichéd, but it had a great cast that had great chemistry. Now comes “Think Like a Man Too” (also directed by Story), which wisely distances itself from the book (and Harvey, mostly) and tones down the Battle of the Sexes plot so present in the first one. This time it takes place in Las Vegas and the night before one of the couples is to be married, the males and the females will have a little fun.

The entire cast is back, which is the movie’s main asset. There’s the betrothed couple Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins), Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union), Zeke (Romany Malco) and Mya (Meagan Good). Then there’s Dominic (Michael Elay) and Lauren (Taraji P Henson), the token white dork couple Bennett (Gary Owen) and Tish (Wendi McLendon Covey). And who can forget the high energy Cedric (Kevin Hart) who acts like a horny puppy dog for the duration of the movie. Not necessarily a bad thing, by the way. As far as Kevin Hart is concerned I think he’s hit and miss. At times his hyperbolic little guy schtick can be great and other times it can wear you out.

Luckily he’s in the company of some immensely talented comedians that prevent the movie from just being The Kevin Hart show. Elay—who was in another Kevin Hart comedy earlier this year, “About Last Night—especially excels as the sensitive chef, along with Hall who manages to be both sweet and raunchy. I also have to commend Owen, whose dorky married with kid’s white guy character chimes in at just the right moments. For example, he would be more content with seeing “The Jersey Boys” than going out and partying.

As in the first movie there is still competition between the men and the women (in the form of dueling/bachelor/bachelorette parties) but as I said before it’s toned down considerably and instead the movie is mainly about two sets of friends escaping to Vegas for the weekend to hang out and b.s with one another. Nothing wrong with that, by the way. In fact I welcome that kind of comedy. There doesn’t need to be any babies, or tigers, or gangsters or other wildly extravagant gags and plot points (I’m looking at you “Hangover”) to make the movie funny. And it’s this simplicity, along with the near flawless comedic chemistry of the cast, that makes “Think Like A Man Too” entertaining enough.

Are there clichés? Sure. There’s a gambling montage (two in fact) and a shopping for nice clothes montage. Does every joke work? Of course not. The worst offender is easily the lengthy (and fatiguing) singalong to the 90’s R&B/Hip Hop song Poison by the girls in a nightclub. And as to be expected there’s the usual third act drama that almost slows the action to a halt. Luckily, Story and Co. don’t spend too much time on it, keeping the comedy momentum going until the credits roll. And even better they’re able to avoid the break up/make up plot point altogether, something that caused the first movie to drag (you know, because there were five couples and therefore five break up/make up sequences).

For what it’s worth “Think Like A Man Too” is better than its predecessor. The jokes are better overall, it’s not structured around Harvey’s book, the men and women are already together which saves us the hassle of having to sit through multiple girl/guy wooing scenes and it doesn’t feel redundant. It might help to see the first movie –if you want to get acquainted with characters and see how they got together—but at the same time I think it can be enjoyed by itself. A critic colleague sitting next to me hadn’t seen the first one and seemed to like it just fine.

“Think Like A Man Too” isn’t great and it won’t stand the test of time and I’m sure after a couple months I will have forgotten about it. But for the time being, you can do much worse.


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