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Movie Review: Kevin Hart Gambles and Loses in 'Think Like A Man Too'

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Think Like a Man Too

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They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and by the time Think Like A Man Too is over you'll wish it had stayed there, also. Following up on 2011's surprise comedy hit based on the relationship book by Steve Harvey, the film leans heavily on breakout star Kevin Hart to carry the comedic load, to the detriment of the equally-talented cast he's surrounded by. Not to say that Hart isn't talented as well, but as a colleague of mine put it, "A little Hart goes a long way". It's the classic case of a sequel that's bigger but not necessarily better, louder but not necessarily funnier.

Admit it, the first time you heard Vegas would be the setting you knew the sequel was doomed. Vegas has become something of a black hole from which fresh ideas never escape. The only one to break this disturbing trend was The Hangover, which then proceeded to return to Vegas disastrously in the franchise's finale. Overconfidence will kill ya. But the worst side-effect of the Vegas problem is the locale guarantees there will be less relationship insight and more indulging in the night life.

Everybody's back for what turns out to be a big wedding bash in Sin City, only now their respective relationships have been kicked up to sitcom levels. Candace (Regina Hall) has settled into a comfortable groove with her fiancé Michael (Terrence J), who is still a "momma's boy" and perhaps even more so. Mya (Meagan Good) is having issues dealing with "Zeke the Freak" (Romany Malco) and his sexual history, made worse by his reputation around Vegas. Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and Dominic (Michael Ealy) are having work/life balance issues; Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Kirsten (Gabrielle Union) are trying to maintain their passion while trying to get pregnant, and of course the requisite unhip white couple (Gary Owen and Wendi McLendon-Covey) is along for the ride and get spruced up roles. Aggressive motormouth Cedric (Hart) has a wild bachelor party planned and a $40K-per-night hotel all booked up for the festivities, hilariously mistaken into thinking he's been asked by Michael to be the best man. Making fun of Hart's diminutive stature has become all too common, but director Tim Story finds new ways to emphasize his lack of height. Cedric, who narrates the action as he did before, sees it as a competition between the sexes to have the craziest evening possible, frequently and weakly reaching for basketball metaphors to make his point. They were probably lifted word-for-word from Harvey's book, but on the plus side the author's appearances are thankfully few.

Hart gets the bulk of the funniest lines as Cedric berates his friends and their love lives, racing them from one disastrous mishap after another. “I’m sick of this nontourage", he cleverly quips. You can't blame them for making Hart the centerpiece but his rat-a-tat-tat shtick has a limit, and you don't know when the line has been crossed until it's too late. In one tell-tale moment, Hart indulges in a Risky Business-style dance number that goes on way too long and would have been funnier as a shared scene with the group. The ensemble is what audiences love, and they will absolutely flip over the film's creative highlight; a music video of the ladies rappin' to Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison". From there it's all downhill for Think Like a Man Too, a sequel that, if we were to use a relationship metaphor, is like a really bad rebound date.

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