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Despite a mixed-to-negative critical response, the original film Think Like a Man found itself a fair share of fans.
Comedy is subjective, so I can’t necessarily say they have the wrong opinion. But I can say that the film, a very loose adaptation of Steve Harvey’s “self-help” book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, was generic and unimaginative. If it pleased people, God bless, but it didn’t please me. Despite going into the theater with an open mind, Think Like a Man Too is yet another tired, unimaginative comedy that, like the original, tries to coast on the cast’s charm, but becomes a loud, seemingly endless bore.
Featuring the characters you “loved” — or, if you’re like me, barely remember—from before, the gang is “back together.” This time, they’re going to Vegas, with one couple getting married. Which, of course, means that it’s time for bachelor and bachelorette parties. For reasons never really addressed, the couples battle each other to see who will have a better night. Then, stuff happens and people yell and then, plot.
The biggest indirect challenge that this sequel has to overcome is following up 22 Jump Street. While not as great as some make it seem, overall, 22 Jump Street was a solid sequel. While extremely self-aware (in my opinion, to a fault) it knows its limitations, and does what it can to overcome them. Through witty writing and strong chemistry, it became a respectable film. Not on par, but pretty close to the original.
With 22 Jump Street so fresh, Think Like a Man Too becomes worse. For this is the type of sequel 22 Jump Street was making fun of. It gets all of its characters back, but has no plot. Thereby just deciding to have the characters go to Vegas — something already done too many times — and have a ball.
If the audience joins in laughing, then this is fine, but we don’t. Think Like a Man Too is one of the most unnecessary sequels in years. Now, of course, most sequels are, but most try to make it worth our while. They build up its universe (like How to Train Your Dragon 2) or expand on its characters.
This movie does neither. It just hopes around, laying on the tired comedic cliches and tiresomely long bits.
The cast’s chemistry is OK, but doesn’t make the clunky bits work. They seem comfortable together, but can’t use their strengths to build off one another, or make themselves fun or interesting. So, of course, the filmmakers push Hart into overdrive again, releasing their Tasmanian Devil out on the loose for more painfully bad comedy.
Hart only works in small doses. The only movie of late that made him work was This is the End, and they killed him off in the first 25 minutes. Hart isn’t more or less annoying than he was in Ride Along or the first Think Like a Man, because it’s the same character. Every. Time. If people like it, then they like it. Again, comedy is subjective. But is it too much to ask that he change it up just a little bit once? Even if people find it funny, it’s getting old. Either have his fifteen minutes of fame up soon, or change it up.
Think Like a Man Too plays like what would happen if Tyler Perry decided to go full-Adam Sandler mode on his films. Not only is it unfunny, but it’s just plain lazy. Even when it seems like it’ll avoid the melodrama of the first, it goes blandly emotional in its final act.
The only actor here that works comically is Gary Owen. Whether he improvised or is just genuinely amusing, his dry delivery are the only lines here (besides one joke involving chains) that in any way, shape or form are amusing. This movie’s biggest sin, though, is casting great comedic actors like Kelsey Grammar and Cheryl Hines for bit roles but literally giving them nothing to do. Meanwhile, Hart screams on the top of his lungs for the 23453452nd time.
This marks director Tim Story’s second film this year, behind Ride Along. While never a great director, looking back on the first Barbershop, he seems to have understand ensemble comedy once. Where that knowledge went is a mystery. For Think Like a Man Too is simply a boring movie. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before, and what little charm the movie tries to coast by on doesn’t work.
Image courtesy of INFphoto.com