The bachelor party in "Think Like a Man Too" gets a little weird. Credit: Matt Kennedy
‘Think Like a Man Too’ Director: Tim Story Stars: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy Rating: PG-13 2 (out of 5) Globes
Being a movie based on a self-help dating book (by Steve Harvey), 2012’s “Think Like a Man” followed the source’s advice to a T — while allowing its talented cast, the most ostentatious being Kevin Hart, to just crack jokes and riff off one another. The sequel only does the former. Harvey, who made an appearance in number one, is regulated to an appearance on a “Family Feud” slot machine. The eight singles from the first have all paired off with one another, meaning it’s time to do the gruntwork of relationships and deal with the pains (and joys) of being together, even spending the rest of recorded time joined together.
Except “Think Like a Man Too” doesn’t really do that. It does a little. Everyone — each a type with a cute “type” name — has a new crisis. The “Single Mom” (Regina Hall) and “Mama’s Boy” (Terrence J) are off to Vegas to get married, to the disapproval of his mom (Jenifer Lewis, scene-stealingly hissable). Elsewhere, the “90 Day Rule Girl” (Meagan Good) is perturbed by the old life of the former “Player” (Romany Malco), the “Dreamer” (the cruelly handsome Michael Ealy and his blue eyes) worries about dating a careerist (Taraji P. Henson), whose type name is really long, and so on.
"Think Like a Man Too" at least doesn't forget about the ladies. Credit: Matt Kennedy
But all of these are half-hearted — really quarter-hearted. The bulk of "Think Like a Man Too" is devoted to not only a bachelor party but a bachelorette party, and in Vegas, no less, as if scrambling for those "The Hangover" bucks. Granted, you actually get to see the party this time. But what transpires if more loud than crazy. It can't even find anything particular to do with the accidental mass ingestion of marijuana. Returning director Tim Story (recently of “Ride Along”) is closest to Kevin Hart’s Cedric, once again an excitable motormouth. Hart’s shtick — he talks smack, his challenger reacts, he tries to hide — is already beginning to show signs of almost being tired, or at least in need of a change-up.
Gender-wise, this is refreshingly equal opportunity — which is to say the girls are as nasty as the boys. But there's little room for the comic interplay and banter that were highlights of the original. Everything's cranked up to 11, and not even Hart — who struggles to shout on the narration track over blaring music — seems particularly inspired. The cast is game, and once again highly likeable. And even the less inspired bits of ad-libbing are better than the teary, serious business that is bound to come once the sun rises. That stuff is pushed off to the last possible moment, as if the film, like its characters, wanted to retain as much of the fun before accepting the responsibilities of boring mature adulthood, without realizing it's only having marginal fun to begin with.