From the opening credits blaring Sinatra’s “Luck Be a Lady,” the shameless, derivative Think Like a Man Too gets right to the Las Vegas clichés, which also include a voiceover invoking that annoying chamber of commerce motto masquerading as a bro and broette code — the one about things happening and staying in Vegas.
Thus are we introduced to the sequel to the unremarkable Think Like a Man, which was based on comedian Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, a book that put him on the talk-show circuit, and purports to give women inside knowledge on the dirty male mind and how to benefit from it. Harvey himself appears throughout the first film, addressing the camera like a smarmy know-it-all whose sage advice we are meant to heed.
This time, Harvey’s all-knowing voice is replaced by Kevin Hart’s. But the firecracker comedian is not relegated solely to narrative duty. He returns as the excitable, hyperactive, perpetually insecure Cedric (in other words, the essential Kevin Hart character). Cedric/Hart seems to have never met the circumstance he couldn’t overreact to, so dropping him in Sin City results in a lot of useless energy that is exhausting to witness.
The same can be said about the entire movie.
Cedric is the best man and bachelor-party mastermind for Michael, who is set to tie the knot with Candace (why this romantic couple picked Las Vegas for a quickie ceremony makes no sense, which at least is consistent with the rest of this scatterbrained movie). Also along for the partying and pending nuptials are the other three lovey-dovey couples from the first film (Cedric’s significant other, with whom he has combustible relationship, is left behind to harangue him via cell phone.) Each couple is saddled with a crisis that must be resolved by film’s end: a meddlesome mother; a reluctant father-to-be; trust issues based on one partner’s past sexual escapades; and relationship insecurities borne of career aspirations. The male characters, including Michael (The Mama’s Boy) and Zeke (The Player), return to struggle against type in strained attempts for zaniness and laughter.
Guiding us through these shenanigans, as if it matters, is Cedric’s turn as off-screen narrator, offering banal observations about romance and the sexes couched in basketball metaphors (one describes the men facing a “full-court press"). All romantic strife will be swiftly resolved in one brief scene per couple by the film’s end. Before that, however, viewers must endure Vegas as you’ve always seen it on screen: loud, tempting and garish. As he did in the first movie, director Tim Story (Fantastic Four, Barbershop) doesn’t let what little humor there is breathe, frequently muting its effect by rushing to get to the next scene. But he may have good reason: There's barely a story here, and with the exception of Cedric, barely any laughs. And even Cedric's schtick of loudly complaining about everything overwhelms the occasional amusing reaction shot that Hart does so well. It would make sense to discover that Think Like a Man Too was less scripted than sketched, as scenes often play like quick-cut montages (including a try-this-on one where the ladies help their frumpy white friend ditch her glasses and sweater for some sexy evening wear). Worst of all is an obnoxious sequence, featuring the bridal party, that is delivered as a music video, complete with song/artist credit.