A 105-minute ad for Caesars Palace, the passably engaging sequel "Think Like a Man Too" allows Kevin Hart, the ensemble's hottest potato, to hijack whole sections of the Las Vegas-set hijinks as he lets loose with his little verbal tsunamis of braggadocio. The way this comedy has been edited by Peter S. Elliot, presumably at the urging of director Tim Story, the shots barely hold themselves for two or three seconds before slam-cutting away to a pushy reaction shot. This isn't momentum; it's agitation, and antsy pacing such as this has a way of giving the impression of energy, rather than truly energizing a scene.
The first film wasn't like this, not to this degree. Based on Steve Harvey's relationship advice book, the 2012 hit breezed by on the strengths of its prodigiously charming cast, so that whatever Harvey and the script were actually advising — Women, lock it up! Don't be skanks! — you could ignore it and concentrate on the back-and-forth and the byplay.
The sequel is a disappointing step down, and backward. The gang reunites in Vegas for the meticulously planned wedding of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins). Michael's steely, meddling force-of-Christianity mother (Jenifer Lewis) gets sidetracked by a suave wedding guest, played by Dennis Haysbert; high-flying corporate leader Lauren (Taraji Henson) and her laid-back chef boyfriend Dominic (Michael Ealy) are tempted by job offers that will wreak havoc on their togetherness; "Zeke the Freak" (Romany Malco) and wised-up Mya (Meagan Good) cope with Zeke running into a variety of previous hookups.
Once separated, the bachelor and bachelorette parties get into the usual Vegas trouble, culminating at a male strip club where the ladies are there for one reason, and the men are there, wearing not much, trying to win back money needed by Cedric (Hart) to pay for his $40,000-a-night Caesars suite. Surprises in "Think Too" are few, though some bits — the best being a music video riff on the '90s dance tune "Poison" by Bell Biv DeVoe — make up for the grinding familiarity of Hart's voice-over narration: "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Really? We needed to be reminded of that one?
The funniest scene is familiar, but it works: a series of mug shots after the strip club melee lands everybody in jail, the morning of the wedding. If you really want to compare apples and oranges, I suppose I'd recommend "Think Too" over a few other Vegas-debauchery-with-consequences comedies. The women have more to do this second time around, which is good; the material itself could and should be better.
"Think Like a Man Too" - 2 stars
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material)
Running time: 1:45
Opens: FridayCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun