Reviewer’s Rating: ★★
“Think Like a Man Too,” driven as it is by the same stock characters and plot developments seen in 2013’s “The Best Man Holiday” and “Baggage Claim” and this year’s “About Last Night,” sticks to romantic-comedy formula.
“Think Like a Man Too,” the sequel to 2012’s “Think Like a Man,” features the standard big ensemble cast with too many characters and mix of chaotic comedy with soap-opera melodrama. There’s the killjoy character, too, who’s typically someone’s haughty mother or an insufferable ex-spouse or girlfriend.
And there’s the crazy, funny guy. Actor-comedian Kevin Hart is the likely candidate to play that part. He does so again in “Think Like a Man Too,” as he previously did in “About Last Night” and the first “Think Like a Man” movie. The latter three films also feature Michael Ealy as the character who’s as earnest as Hart is crazy.
“Think Like a Man Too” reunites the couples from the original film in Las Vegas for a special occasion. Michael (Terrence J) and Candace (Regina Hall) are getting married at Caesars Palace. The wedding will not go off without a hitch. Make that several hitches.
Subplots include the quest by Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kristen (Gabrielle Union) to conceive a child. The relationship Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and Dominic (Ealy) share is threatened by their career choices. Mya (Meagan Good) and Zeke (Romany Malco) are committed to each other until his past rises like poisonous gas.
Hart returns in “Think Like a Man Too” as the trouble-making Cedric. The comic actor also narrates the film through occasional voiceovers. Hart sets the story up as a competition between the men and the women.
The respective missions for the bachelor party team and bachelorette party team are, as expressed by Cedric, to outdo each other in the amount of fun each team has during Michael and Candace’s wedding eve.
That fun includes the ladies going old school. They visit a club and romp through a music video-style sequence featuring Bell Biv Devoe’s 1990 hit “Poison.” The misplaced nostalgia stops the movie’s story cold.
The comedy in “Think Like a Man Too” parallels the many Vegas comedies that preceded it: 2008’s “What Happens in Vegas,” 1997’s “Vegas Vacation,” 1992’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” and, of course, 2009’s “The Hangover.” Stuff happens.
The cast throws itself into the party. And it is amusing, for instance, when Hart’s Cedric and his pals play dress up for the higher purpose of getting Cedric out of a financial misunderstanding.
In addition to the physical free-for-all that is the movie’s comic zenith, Cedric gets some good lines. Disillusioned by his friends’ unwillingness to party big time in legendary party town Las Vegas, the disgusted Cedric tells them, “I’m sick of this non-tourage!”
Just as the film approaches its comic potential, “Think Like a Man Too” downshifts into deep melodrama. It becomes a different movie. But then such severe clashes of tone that create a whiplash effect are part of the formula.
The script’s belabored third-act machinations effectively kill whatever laughs might sneak out of the misery. And once the fun is over, the screenwriters collect the loose ends and tie them into unforgivably forced outcomes.