By Mark Saldana

Rating: 1.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

With the first film, I remember liking the way screenwriters Kerry Merryman and David A. Newman incorporated elements of Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, into an otherwise cliché and formulaic romantic comedy. At least that film had that quality going for it, but with this sequel, Harvey’s influence is pretty much absent, leaving all the flaws and problems and not much else.  In addition to these issues, director Tim Story’s unleashing of comedian Kevin Hart allows him to act that much more obnoxiously, making this movie a truly grating and frustrating experience. Think Like A Man Too really should have been titled Act Like a Buffoonish Fool, Irritate Your Audience.

The entire lead of cast of the first film return in a sequel that has characters Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terence Jenkins) getting married in Las Vegas with all of their close friends in tow.  The film follows the various couples of the previous movie, who all have progressed beyond their previous problems, but now face new ones.  Zeke (Romany Malco) and Mya (Meagan Good) share a committed relationship, but his past days of partying and womanizing have come back to haunt them both. Dominick (Michael Ealy) and Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) have trouble juggling their relationship and their desires to achieve success in their careers. Jeremy (Abel Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union) have been trying to procreate, but Jeremy doesn’t feel quite ready for fatherhood. Finally, the wedding couple still have to contend with Michael’s domineering mother Loretta (Jenifer Lewis) who not only threatens to put a damper on the pre-wedding festivities, but also poses a threat to the wedding itself.

Merryman, Newman and Story have so little to offer this time around. Every couple faces problems and issues that have been addressed in countless other films of varying qualities. Nothing fresh or new comes with the rehashed content and apparently, Story and his writers felt that the humor and the likability of the characters would carry this film alone. That really isn’t the case at all. Sure, most of the characters have their charming qualities, but there really is nothing dynamic or compelling about them. In addition, the comic relief characters come across as aggravating, ludicrous caricatures that deliver few laughs.

The main culprit, here, is most definitely Kevin Hart who portrays the obnoxious and inept Cedric. He mistakenly gets chosen by Michael to be his best man. Tim Story and his writers obviously left way too much room for Hart to improvise, allowing his antics to go off the deep end.  I will admit that a couple of his scenes did actually make me laugh, but the moments that made me cringe and groan certainly outnumber the funny ones. I actually like Kevin Hart. I found him somewhat comical in the otherwise rote Ride Along, and even funnier in the 2014 version of About Last Night… I even found him funny in the first Think Like a Man.  It seems Story, his writers, and Hart wanted to pull out all the stops in an attempt to top the humor of the first film, and it tanks badly.

The other frustrating caricature in the film is Bennett, whom actor Gary Owen portrays.  While not quite obnoxious as Cedric, Bennett plays a cliché white man oddball of the group. Bennett basically is a goofy dork, but one that is over-the-top and so ridiculously written that I find it hard to believe that someone like him really exists.  In fact, his character acts so preposterously and says the most asinine things that I find even more difficult to believe that this group of men would even hang out with him. I don’t completely blame Owen for this though.  I’m sure he did his best with the shoddy material he has.

The other cast members offer competent performances, but no one really stands out. They have no one to blame, but the writers of this film who, had it not been for the moderate success of the first film and the star quality of the cast, probably would have been rejected when they pitched this sequel.  To be fair, I did laugh a few times, and I particularly enjoyed a music video tribute to Bell Biv Devoe which feature a hilarious performance by Wendi McLendon-Covey, but the few funny moments do not make for a thoroughly satisfying movie experience.

To be honest, the audience in attendance seemed to eat everything up and enjoy it. Still, readers who tend to agree with my reviews and film assessments will probably want to stay away from this mess of an attempted romantic comedy. My recommendation is to look up the Bell Biv Devoe video tribute online once the movie gets released, but don’t even bother seeking out this film otherwise.



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