THINK LIKE A MAN TOO
Director: Tim Story
Cast: Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Meagan Good, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J, Romany Malco, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gary Owen, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Lewis, Dennis Haysbert
MPAA Rating: (for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material)
Running Time: 1:46
Release Date: 6/20/14
Review by Mark Dujsik | June 19, 2014
Think Like a Man Too makes a major course correction from its predecessor. That movie, as one may recall, was basically a two-hour commercial for a self-help book about romantic relationships by Steve Harvey. Characters talked about, quoted, tried to buy, and highlighted passages from the book, and in the most ridiculously blatant moment of salesmanship, one character even held it up to the camera in such a way that the only thing missing was the price and a list of fine stores where the book was available superimposed over the image.
The sequel also claims to be based on Harvey's book, although, gratefully, the movie doesn't try to sell the tome by having the characters discuss how much more convenient it is to carry around the paperback edition. In fact, the book is nowhere to be seen here, and Harvey's advice seemingly has been replaced by a narrator obsessed with basketball metaphors (As that statement is coming from someone who hasn't read the book, it is simply an assumption). Harvey does not appear in physical form, but he does make somewhat of a cameo in the form of images of his disembodied head adorning a deus ex machina—a slot machine, to be specific.
In other words, the sequel isn't an advertisement. This is a legitimate movie; it is also a legitimately bad one.
It's a matter of taking one step forward in not being a transparent sales pitch and two steps back in its inability to create relatable scenarios with sensible characters. The movie, written by returning screenwriters Keith Merryman and David A. Newman, takes its view of couples struggling to keep up a relationship and tosses it aside for a series of trying episodes that make every character here look like a buffoon to one degree or another. That would be fine if not for the fact that the movie takes its bookend scenes of conflict and resolution so seriously. Even more importantly, there would be less of a problem if the movie possessed even a minimal idea of what makes a joke work.
The story finds the whole gang reuniting after months of being apart to celebrate the wedding of Michael (Terrence J) and Candace (Regina Hall) in Las Vegas. Michael, as some might recall, is a "mama's boy," and even though the last movie made a big deal about him getting past that, it turns out that he still is. His mother Loretta (Jennifer Lewis) is still a busybody, yet neither Michael nor his bride-to-be tries to stand up to her—until, of course, the screenplay needs to cleanly resolve all its conflicts.
All of the other couples also have problems that don't matter for the long stretch of misadventures—in which the men and women go their separate ways for a night on the town—and then matter immensely by the third act. Zeke (Romany Malco) and Mya (Meagan Goode) find reminders of Zeke's playboy past. Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union) are trying to have a baby, and he isn't sure if he's ready to be a father. Dominic (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) receive job offers in different parts of the country, and of course, neither bothers to tell the other (until Dominic finds out by happening to look up at a television at the exact moment the news reports that his girlfriend has a new job). Bennett (Gary Owen) and his wife Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) are there, too—Tish to have a complete makeover and Bennett to make a lot of really awkward statements about race.
The whole ordeal is incessantly, uselessly narrated by Cedric (Kevin Hart), who has a $36,000 misunderstanding over how much his private villa actually costs. This leads to a weird montage/music video of him trying to win at the blackjack table and the women, under the influence of THC-laced strips that they mistake for breath mints, singing and dancing at a bar. Based on that example of the kind of lazy humor on display here, it will surprise no one that the climax of the parties takes place at a strip club where both groups just happen to be and breaks out into a fight.
We know from the first movie that this cast can lift up problematic material. Director Tim Story seems to have put the Atlantic task of raising this junk squarely on their shoulders. The good news for the cast is that they will each do better movies—and likely few as bad as Think Like a Man Too.
Copyright © 2014 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.
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