Having Kevin Hart narrate Think Like a Man Too from the get-go, you know that this film will have a completely different feel, tone and message than Think Like a Man.
The first film landed in 2012 and focused its narrative on the self-help relationship book by Steve Harvey, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. It took four powerful black actresses and made them the center of the film. By the end everyone was coupled off and Harvey’s self-help book had saved the day for these ladies in their effort to bring their men to their senses.
Think Like a Man Too is a completely different beast. As Hart begins the film with his narration, he’s talking about how Las Vegas is not good for couples -- it’s where you go to meet women. But, there is a caveat. It’s a fantastic place for a bachelor and bachelorette party. And that’s why we're here. Oh, and there's a wedding.
Regina Hall’s Candace and Terrence Jenkins’ Michael are getting married in Sin City and the entire gang is in town to celebrate. There are also a couple of additions beyond the first movie’s stars Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good, La La Anthony, Michael Ealy, Jerry Ferrara, Gary Owen and Romany Malco -- most notably, Wendi McLendon-Covey as Owen’s wife.
The way that Think Like a Man brought the men and women together, it seems like through Hart’s narration that the sole goal is to have them be competitive and apart. Hart treats their respective “last night of freedom” parties as a contest.
There are laughs aplenty and there is a reason that Hart’s character has had his ante upped.
He has become a huge star since 2012, just watch Ride Along online and you’ll see what we mean. Hart is the draw and screenwriters Keith Merryman and David A. Newman have built this movie around his hilarity. For fans of the comedic actor, that makes this film a triumph. We happen to be one of those, so that is why we think it works. But, we can also see why those who adored the first film may be put off.
Director Tim Story is also back from the first film (he also helmed Ride Along) and he manages to craft a series of interweaving stories that still work, like the first film did. And don’t get us started on the “music video” he has right in the middle of the film by the ladies that needs to go viral right now.
Our Think Like a Man Too review has to state that any film that takes place in Vegas should be great fun, and Think Like a Man Too truly feels like the party that Sin City epitomizes. It raises some great points about relationships, shows off the brilliance of Hart, gives us great cameos by Dennis Haysbert (!) and George Wallace, and leaves the door wide open for a third movie.
"I'll be the first to say, I got a good look at my body in Think Like a Man and I said, 'Eww.' So coming into part two, we all wanted to come in looking different, looking better," Hart said. "You always want to up the ante."
"The cast is so special. We all know and admire each other. I knew the second one would be better because of the cast and how we worked together," Taraji P. Henson said.
Gabrielle Union concurred. "I think we figured out how to give you all the characters you love some new surprises," she added. "And, we give you a couple new characters and new places to go."
Hart's character gets the biggest suite in the casino and celebrates by dancing. It's hilarious! "That was literally on the spot -- it was all improv," Hart proudly said. "We knew that we wanted to get the entrance, a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business, where I just slide into frame. Other than that, that was Tim (Story, director) just saying, 'I'm going to just let it go. Be a kid in a candy store, have fun. This is a new environment for you -- enjoy yourself like no one else is around.'"
Romany Malco, who's back as Zeke, saw it differently. "Tell the truth, Kevin," he said as he turned to his co-star. "What really happened is that we hired the world's greatest choreographer, Kevin couldnât do ANY of the moves, and thatâs what you got."
Henson treasured the fact that they didnât go their separate ways after each day's shooting. "We didnât go home. I stayed either in Reginaâs (Hall) room or La Laâs (Anthony) room. If we were in L.A., we wouldnât do that."
Husbands did cause Henson to move around, though!. "La La got kind of quiet once 'Melo (her husband, New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony) was done with his season. I was like, 'Melo, really? You're taking my friend. Now I have nowhere to go!' I was like, 'When is he leaving?'"
"That made us bond, made us closer." Hall added.
We asked, âIf the male strip club scene didnât end in a fight, who would have won the contest?" âTerrence would have had an edge,â Michael Ealy said.
Hart agreed. âIâd give it to Terrence. I think Terrence wouldâve been the one to give it the most effort. I think Terrence wouldâve given it 110.â
Terrence admitted one thing. âI definitely wouldâve had the most baby oil!â
As they had to appear in skimpy outfits set to strip, the guys did their best to work out, constantly. Jerry Ferrara said that Malco would not be denied. âHeâs the MacGyver of the workouts. Give him an apple and a rubber band and heâll come up with a workout,â Ferrara said.
Hart was game for any workout during filming as the strip club scene wasnât in the original script that meant getting ready quickly. âBeing half-naked in the stripper scene, we had to be nice on a femaleâs eyes. So on set, we had nothing but gym material -- push up bars, ab rollers!â Hart said. âThe biggest fear of an actor, especially a man, is having a shirt-off scene and watching that movie with a live audience and hearing women go, âEww.ââ
The girls get down to a music video, mid movie, to BBDâs Poison. It is awesome. And the guys are not happy. âThereâs still jealousy from the guys,â Hart said.
âOn the page it wasnât written like that,â Jenkins added. âIt just said, âThe ladies dance to Poison.' They did a music video!!"
While the gang gathers in Vegas for a wedding, it didnât faze newly engaged Union. Besides, itâs not her who is obsessing about wedding details, itâs her fiance Dwyane Wade.
âHeâs worried about centerpieces and the kind of wine weâre having,â Union said and laughed.
The ladies get Reginaâs character a blow-up doll named Idris (Elba) for her bachelorette party. Unionâs blow-up doll name would surprise. âReally, my fantasy guy, for so long, was Maxwell Caulfield in Grease 2. [Singing] Cool rider! Cool, cool, cool, cool rider! Grease was great!â
âI wanted to know where these relationships went,â Union said. âScreenwriters said they made it a point to not only focus on the plot, but also on the relationships between the characters. They explained that after the first film so many women that they knew came up to them and identified with every one of [the characters].â