When is a sequel to a fairly profitable comedy not really a sequel at all? Let's take a look at THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, which effectively jettisons all of things that make 2012's THINK LIKE A MAN work, and throws the exact same cast into a standard-issue, paint-by-numbers Vegas adventure that doesn't even have the balls to dabble in some risqué behavior thanks to its commitment to a PG-13 rating. The first film was about the comforts of same-sex friendships and the perils of opposite-sex couplings, with riffs on both being largely inspired by Steve Harvey's comically inspired book “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man.” And for the most part, the insight into and portrait of both types of relationships were accurate and amusing.
But with THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, all of that is gone. Harvey's lessons are gone, and this becomes the story of two roving parties moving through Sin City the weekend of the wedding between Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins). All of the gang is back, and there are even some new faces as well. Also back is director Tim Story, who did the first film as well as Kevin Hart's wildly successful January release RIDE ALONG. Story has a real gift at getting his actors to improvise and take some degree of chance with their performances, but in this film, that usually results in little more than actors talking over each other, with whoever talks the loudest getting the laugh; 95 percent of the time, that would be Hart, as the film's sole sort-of-solo male (his wife/ex-wife/whatever she is, is played by talk show host Wendy Williams and is only seen and heard via phone).
Some of the issues the couples are dealing with are different. Some are trying to get pregnant, some are trying to move to the "next level" of seriousness, some are just trying to make sure they still find each other attractive, and of course the bride and groom still have to deal with his overbearing mother (Jenifer Lewis), in a plot line that wasn't funny in the first film, and surprisingly enough, it hasn't gotten funnier in the sequel.
The only thing worse than the completely manufactured issues these couples are facing is the way they deal with them. Romany Malco's Zeke is haunted by his player past life when he gets to Vegas, as women all over the city greet him with tales of his philandering ways, making his girlfriend Mya (Meagan Good) exceedingly unhappy. I won't ruin the non-surprise of how he handles this, but it's basically the equivalent of throwing enough money at Mya to show her he loves her. Nothing degrading about that, nope.
The guys' bachelor party and the ladies' bachelorette party naturally bump into each other by the end of the night and wackiness ensues. Throw in a few celebrity cameos, excessive drinking, and a night in jail, and you've got, well, a variation of every Vegas comedy made since THE HANGOVER, minus Mike Tyson. Supporting work from Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Taraji P. Henson, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gary Owen, Adam Brody, Gabrielle Union, Dennis Haysbert and La La Anthony do very little for the film's entertainment value beyond crowd the screen with characters in search of a plot.
I'm still in a bit of shock about how far the makers of THINK LIKE A MAN TOO strayed from what worked in the first film. Not that it was any landmark in cinema as relationship comedies went, but at least the laughs were there more often than they weren't, and Harvey's loose structure worked as something akin to a goofy therapy session. But it's all gone from the sequel, and what remains in its place is a dull, uninspired mess of a film that does this great cast every indignity.