Comedy films are a genre of film that unfortunately have a lot of liberties taken with it. The genre seems to be victim to studio massacres when it comes to pumping out sequels when originals exceed expectations and budgets. The comedic genre is one that is usually produced for much less than the expensive action-adventure and science fiction films during the summer. So when a small-time movie succeeds, bet the house that a lacklustre sequel is on the way, hence, Think Like A Man Too.
Now whats worse than having a successful comedy film for a studio? Having a huge rising star that can be forcefully placed into any comedy for a studio. Take one of my all time favourite, generation-defining original comedies, American Pie as an example. Pie, which was made in 1999, inspired a slew of sequels, spin-offs without the original cast members, and a whole generation of laughs which have made its way up to audiences in 2012 with American Reunion. Now, there is always a stand-out comedian that steals the show and becomes an icon for a generation of audience members and adolescents, and for the Pie series, that character was undoubtedly Steven Stifler, played outrageously by Seann William Scott. Stifler was such a huge comedic force for the series that, by the time American Wedding came around four years later, the movie might has well been called Stifler: The Movie since the narrative followed the missteps and redemption of the outrageous character more than the actually wedding at hand. Scott, who was thankfully a star for his portrayal as the limitless frat-boy, was quickly exhausted and eventually forgotten by the time the much needed career boosting reunion was announced.
Now with the surprise, box-office champion Think Like A Man, expectations for the comedy were low, which came a surprise when it reigned supreme at the box-office. As the film almost reached $100 million domestically and movies like Ride Along and About Last Night made Kevin Hart a certified box office force to be reckoned with, it seemed like a no-brainer for the movie to inspire a sequel. Not surprisingly, Think Like A Man Too is a loud, obnoxious cinematic overindulgence during a time of movie gluttony at the multiplexes.
There is no denying that Kevin Hart is one of the hardest working comedians in Hollywood today. Earning his place and working over a span of twenty years trying to make it to the top, Hart is a relentless actor who seems to always get the attention on him. In Think Like A Man Too, Hart’s annoyance reaches a new high, and that is saying a lot. The ridiculousness of his character are unbelievable, his scenes of unequivocal loyalty are poorly conceived, and his high-stake redemption plot points are subsequently brought to him on a silver-platter by other characters. Think Like A Man Too may not be all Hart’s fault, but when it comes down to it; his voiceover throughout the film, face in front of all the marketing and high-ranking comedic position sure makes his the easiest target for one of the worst comedic missteps of the summer.
Not really thinking like anything or taking to heart any of the subject matter from the source material which the film is based off of, Think Like A Man Too finds the group of friends in Las Vegas for Michael (Terrence J) and Candice’s (Regina Hall) wedding. And like any good weekend in Vegas, there is always the overbearing presence of having the best wedding ever, but, as per usual, chaos ensues. You would think that any wedding deciding to have their bachelor and bachelorette parties the day before the big day have learned from various pop culture disasters not to do that, but hey, no one said any of these characters were rational.
Taking too many of the wrong cues from the last Hangover film and not enough from the first trend-setting film, Too feels like too much of the rehashed failures of so many other movies before it. Thankfully, the original cast was able to return for a trip to Sin City, but unfortunately, no one is able to make matters any better as the jokes fade fast, the laughs come sporadically and the cast members seem to be cashing in like so many of the extras acting around them.
Michael Ealy, who seems to be Hart’s yang when it comes to his presence on the big screen, does what he can with the emotional scenes and heart-wrenching moments of love. Ealy, whose doe-eyes are the perfect balance to the stark comedy Hart offers, does what he can, and that is bringing the ladies to the theatres. The real stand out of the ladies is the always sidelined La La Anthony, who plays Sonia, a friend invited to the bachelorette party but not given any space in the bridal party. Sonia steals so many of the scenes with the girls offering some real-world girl fun and comedy to a movie that seems have its head in the stars.
Director Tim Story, the man behind bringing the action-filled The Fantastic Four to the big screen shows he is able to handle large casts and overwhelming star power on-screen. His earlier film Barbershop showed us his impressive use of subtle black comedy and how effective it can be with the right cast and story, dealing in culturally pivotal locations and with contemporary generational issues with magnum success. Usually, film directors make their big breaks from directing music videos for influential artists. Story, who decides to include a music video type scene in the film, not only butchers a classic Hip-Hop song, but uses outdated, poorly executed and improper use of the effects that make retro music videos so much fun. Watch out for this scene or decide to take a bathroom break here, because this is surely one of the worst in the film.
Think Like A Man was a throughly enjoyable, guilty pleasure of a film shared equally by all its cast. Its sequel is a quickly paced, rushed product of star-studded arrogance that lingers well after its final credits. There are not enough scenes to redeem anyone in the sequel of a film that seems to think of itself, before anyone else. Yea, I said that too.
Night Film Reviews: 1.5 Stars Out of 10.
Was Think Like A Man Too better than the original? Or is Tim Story’s rushed sequel a total summer disaster? Which one did you like better? Is Kevin Hart at the start of his fame or fading out quickly? Leave your thoughts about the film below…too!