When it arrived in theaters two years ago, the film adaptation of Steve Harvey’s self-help book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man was nothing more than a pleasant romcom laced with legitimate gripes about immature men, meandering mama’s boys, and commitment-phobic fellas. It was an often clever comedy, but one where the laughs far outweighed the insights. The cast included future funnyman of the moment Kevin Hart (Ride Along, About Last Night) along with several other sensational actors and actresses of color.
A surprise hit, earning close to $100 million on a $12 million budget, talk of a sequel soon followed. Now, fresh off of Hart’s ascension into a box office superstar with, we get Think Like a Man Too. Gone are Harvey’s hints and couples’ counseling. In their place is a faux-Hangover tour of Vegas with some genuinely hilarious moments, and some obvious missed opportunities.
When last we saw Michael (Terrence J) and his single mom gal pal Candace (Regina Hall), they were contending with his domineering mother (Jenifer Lewis). The couple are now getting married and said matron is still inserting herself in the plans. Best man Cedric (Hart) has booked a high roller’s suite at Caesar’s Palace, with plans for a blow-out bachelor party. The ladies are also considering the same thing. Soon, the rest of the crew shows up, carrying the typical relationship baggage with them.
Settled duo Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) are facing a crisis thanks to competing job offers. Zeke (Romany Malco) can’t convince Maya (Meagan Good) that his “playa” days are over, Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) is feeling pressured over Kristen’s (Gabrielle Union) eagerness to have a baby, while Bennett (Gary Owen) and Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) just want some downtime away from the kids. Naturally, everyone’s pre-matrimony plans end in chaos, confrontation, and a trip to the clink.
A sequel in name only, Think Like a Man Too has a lot of faith in its followers. Harvey’s book may have begat all this craziness, but it’s now merely the preamble to an entertaining mainstream comedy. Granted, the material is geared toward the underserved demo that made the first film a monster, but there are elements here that will resonate with anyone who’s ever been involved in a relationship, either long term or struggling. But that’s not really director Tim Story’s focus. Instead, he gives us the typical Sin City setup and then lets his incredibly talented cast do the rest.
If ever a film was carried by the group of individuals hired to play certain parts, it is this one. During a sequence set in a club, the ladies deliver a devastatingly fun “performance” of Bell Biv DeVoe’s 1990 classic “Poison.” Similarly, a strip club competition turns into an all-out brawl with each of our actors getting their physical comedy licks in. In fact, we have so much fun when these couples cut loose that when the mandatory dramatic turns come into play, we feel like children being punished for having a good time. Indeed, the last 20 minutes or so are all heart-to-hearts, confrontations, and hackneyed resolutions. The movie should have focused more on the fun, and less on the already established interpersonal problems.
Still, Think Like a Man Too delivers a good time. It’s the kind of crowd pleaser that can get away with obvious dilemmas and easy answers because its actors are so talented. Place any other people in these roles and you’d have another Tyler Perry preach fest. But thanks to some solid decisions regarding casting, a potential piffle becomes quite pleasurable.