And, so now we have ‘Think Like a Man Too’

By Gary Clift

Steve Harvey, who is currently the host of the TV game show “Family Feud,” has been a comedian, a journeyman comic actor, and the author of a self-help book for women called “Act Like a Lady; Think Like a Man.”

A couple of years ago film director Tim Story and screen writers Keith Merryman and David A. Newman turned out a movie, “Think Like a Man,” about what happens when a set of African-American women use the techniques in Harvey’s books to alter their romances.

Apparently that film made some money, because now we get “Think Like a Man Too” with the same director, the same writers, and most of the same cast. They’ve carried everything forward but the pretense that the movie is about the book in some way.

Even Harvey re-appears. He is depicted on a slot machine with a “Family Feud” theme.

While the first movie was about increasing sophistication, “Too” is about putting away childhood things. Or at least, that is the best way to make a case for the scattered film which seems more like a drunken “Love Boat” episode run at an increased speed than it does like anything else.

The film has a little trouble being funny. It relies on the energy of over-exposed Kevin Hart and the mugging of Regina Hall, an experienced film actress but not someone who is known to the movie-going public for being a comedic dynamo.

To make up for its weakness, “Think Like a Man Too” moves quickly, taking us to what seems like dozens of sites along Las Vegas’s South Strip. And it keeps changing its subject. The film’s five couples each have a problem that must be solved during the film. Wendy Williams—not to be mistaken for Wendy O. Williams—plays Hart’s opposite, but she appears only via telephone.

Everyone but Williams has gone to Vegas for the wedding of characters played by Terrence Jenkins and Hall. The groom’s pushy and hypocritical mother has come along. Soon one of the girls’ uncles shows up.

The weekend has been planned by the mistakenly-invited best man character (Hart). He has misunderstood a casino hotel’s rate offer and has charged over $40,000 to his ex-wife’s credit card. A pair of aspiring young professionals, Michael Ealy and Taraji P. Henson are each offered jobs during the weekend, and in each case acceptance will put considerable strain on their romance.

Jerry Ferrara plays a man who has been unwilling to commit himself to his relationship with a woman played by Gabrielle Union, in the weakest of these subplots. Then a designer played by Megan Good gets tired of hearing what a party champion her beau, played by Romany Malco, used to be.

The trouble with the token White couple, Gary (not the announcer on Laugh-In) Owen and Wendi McClendon-Covey, have is that their characters are not hip. He wears a fanny pack. She needs to have her clothes bought for her by the other women.

On Friday night the men go out for a sort of traveling bachelor’s party and the women, separately, do the same. Forced hilarity ensues. Finally the best man, realizing he has to come up with forty grand toot-sweet, enters himself and all his friends in an amateur strip contest. The girls are in the audience.

Will their meeting test their romances? Will li’l Bam-Bam get his dough? Will Mama be satisfied by a Dionne Warwick concert and a night with Uncle Eddie? Will they all, for goodness sake, make it to what passes for the church on time for the wedding?

Cell phones figure prominently in the story. So does drink. The movie makes less use of the idea that THC, the significant ingredient in marijuana, can be dropped onto commercial “breath strips” without losing its capacity to stone.

Strippers and female toplessness (at the hotel pool) figure but are treated with almost Victorian decorum. There is some gambling, but the movie doesn’t make it particularly appealing. Nor does it make Hart’s character’s conspicuous consumption seem all that attractive.

So “Think Like a Man Too” isn’t a bad movie, any more than I’m sure the advice in Harvey’s book is bad advice. But it is noticeable that in this sequel the source work doesn’t seem to figure in any way.

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