Exercising brain cells and going to Las Vegas tend to be mutually exclusive pursuits, if movies like The Hangover and Last Vegas have taught us anything.
So it makes sense that Think Like a Man Too would flatline as the Sin City sequel to the hit 2012 men vs. women rom-com. The original was based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling dating manual, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, and while it wasn’t rocket science, it encouraged some pondering about one how gender views the other.
The follow-up slams shut the book, for the most part, instead packing its likeable crew off to Vegas for some dumb and awfully predictable shenanigans.
The avowed reason for the road trip is the nuptials of confused mama’s boy Michael (Terrence J) and sincere single mom Candace (Regina Hall), which of course ensures the attendance of Michael’s meddling mother Loretta (Jenifer Lewis).
The wedding guests reprise the couplings of the first film: funky chef Dominic (Michael Ealy) and media exec Lauren (Taraji P. Henson); stoner Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and nest-builder Kristen (Gabrielle Union); dedicated playa Zeke (Romany Malco) and finger-wagging Mya (Meagan Good).
One new pairing is Gary Owen’s doofus Bennett with Wendi McLendon-Covey’s bookish Tish, a vanilla couple who are about to be schooled as to why fanny packs and twin sets just don’t cut it on Glitter Gulch.
And naturally there’s wild card Kevin Hart, favourite collaborator of director Tim Story, whose hotwired Cedric functions as narrator, bumbling best man and catalyst for trouble.
As far as Hart, Story and returning screenwriters Keith Merryman and David A. Newman are concerned, the wedding scenario is really just an excuse for boys and girls to go wild, with respective bachelor and bachelorette parties.
Yet it’s tamer than you would expect — and hope. When Cedric discovers the palatial suite he booked at Caesar’s Palace is costing $40,000 per night rather than $4,000, his solution is for the lads to enter a Magic Mike-style male stripper’s contest. The result is not only G-rated but also Zzz-rated.
Ditto for The Hangover steal where Kristen mistakenly distributes some of Jeremy’s well-disguised weed to the ladies. Do they end up with a trashed hotel room, a roaming tiger and a chicken? Not really.
For the most part, Think Like a Man Too plays like a combination tourism video and Christian-themed message movie, where the protagonists act vaguely naughty on the road to assured enlightenment and cuddling.
There’s but one single line — you’ll know it when you hear it — that suggests any kind of thought went into writing the screenplay.
And the only real visual flair is in a multiple split-screen scene in which the gals commandeer a nightclub and reimagine the video to Bell Biv DeVoe’s 1990 hit “Poison.” It’s better than the original and shows how smart this movie could have been.
Dedicated fans of Hart and his crew might enjoy revisiting these characters, who really deserve a better movie together. There are also a few celebrity cameos, good for a chuckle or two.
For everybody else, what happens on this trip to Vegas might just as well have stayed in Vegas.