The idea of turning self-help books into movies isn’t new. Fifty years ago Helen Gurley Brown’s guidebook “Sex and the Single Girl,” which featured advice on “How to be Sexy,” among other useful tips, was made into a film starring Natalie Wood and “Mean Girls” was an adaptation of the high school survival manual “Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence.”
So the idea of the 2012 farce “Think Like a Man” based on Steve Harvey’s best-selling book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” wasn’t a stretch.
But now a sequel? The question is: How do you conjure a second story out of a book with no plot? Set it in Vegas and let Kevin Hart do all the heavy lifting.
The idea of Harvey’s tome is to give women an inside look into the workings of the male psyche and take control of their relationships. It’s typical battle of the sexes stuff and on film they play it for laughs.
The four couples from the original movie— Maya and Zeke (Meagan Good and Romany Malco), Dominic and Lauren (Michael Ealy and Taraji P. Henson), Jeremy and Kristen (Jerry Ferrara and Gabrielle Union) and Tish and Bennett (Wendi McLendon-Covey and Gary Owen)—plus the almost single Cedric (Kevin Hart) reunite in Las Vegas—“The number one destination in the world for people who do the craziest thing… get married.”—for “Think Like A Man Too.”
They’ve gathered for the wedding of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) but you know as soon as someone says, “I’m going to give you the perfect wedding… nothing is going to go wrong,” that, of course, everything is going to go wrong. The romantic getaway is jeopardized when the bachelorette and bachelor parties spin out of control.
“Think Like a Man Too” plays like a tamer version of “The Hangover.” There’s even a cameo from a world champion boxer but “TLAMT” doesn’t have the cynical edge of the Bradley Cooper movie. Instead, it plays it safe, making Sin City look like a wild but not terribly dangerous place to get married. All the usual Vegas clichés are well represented, from the gambling montage to the glaring neon lights to flaming cocktails to skimpy bikini-clad women to male strippers. What happens in Vegas also happens in the movies… quite often. The only thing missing is an Elvis impersonator or two.
Director Tim Story moves the story—what there is of it—along faster than a spinning roulette wheel. Montages and music video interludes keep the pace up, disguising the fact that there isn’t much going on. The story is thin, despite the multiple storylines crisscrossing throughout.
Kevin Hart seems to be trying to singlehandedly make up for a dearth of story by pulling out all the stops. No pratfall or face pull is beyond him. He even recreates Tom Cruise’s “Risky Business” underwear dance. His hyperactive performance stands in stark contrast to the more laid back work from his co-stars, but it does add a splash of life to every scene he’s in. Only his enthusiastic reading of a line like, “I’m sick of this non-tourage,” could pull laughs from some of this material.
“Think Like a Man Too” is a thin story bolstered by a few laughs (courtesy of Hart) and good-looking people navigating the choppy waters of modern romance. The advice contained within has more Hart than actual heart and is unlikely to provide much self-help, but has the same kind of bland appeal as its predecessor.