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 with 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 dominant in the first one.
This time, it takes place in Las Vegas, the night before one of the couples is to marry, and the men and women 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), and Zeke (Romany Malco) and Mya (Meagan Good).
Then there’s Dominic (Michael Elay) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and 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 sex-starved puppy dog for the duration of the movie.
Luckily, he’s in the company of some immensely talented comedians who prevent the movie from just being “The Kevin Hart Show.” Elay — who was in another Kevin Hart comedy, “About Last Night,” earlier this year — especially excels as the sensitive chef, along with Hall, who manages to be both sweet and raunchy. Also to be commended is Owen, who chimes in at just the right moments.
As in the first movie, there is still competition between the men and the women (in the form of dueling bachelor/bachelorette parties), but it’s toned down considerably, and instead, the movie is mainly about two sets of friends escaping to Vegas for the weekend. 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) sing-along to a ‘90s song by the women 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.
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 wooing scenes; and it doesn’t feel redundant.
It might help to see the first movie, to get acquainted with characters and see how they got together, but this one can be enjoyed by itself.
“Think Like A Man, Too” won’t stand the test of time, but for the time being, you can do much worse.
To comment on this review, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.