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Think Like a Man Too Blu-ray Review

Think Like a Man Too (2014) movie poster Think Like a Man Too

Theatrical Release: June 20, 2014 / Running Time: 106 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Tim Story / Writers: Keith Merryman, David A. Newman (screenplay); Steve Harvey (book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man)

Cast: Adam Brody (Isaac), Michael Ealy (Dominic), Jerry Ferrara (Jeremy Kern), Meagan Good (Mya), Regina Hall (Candace Hall), Kevin Hart (Cedric Ward), Dennis Haysbert (Uncle Eddie), Taraji P. Henson (Lauren Harris), Terrence J (Michael Hanover), Jenifer Lewis (Loretta), Romany Malco (Zeke Freeman), Wendi McLendon-Covey (Tish), Gary Owen (Bennett), Gabrielle Union (Kristen), David Walton (Terrell), La La Anthony (Sonia), Jim Piddock (Declan), Wendy Williams (Gail), Caleel Harris (Duke), Angela E. Gibbs (Adele), Luenell (Aunt Winnie), Chelsea Dawn (Girl in Pool), Derek Watkins (Jackson), Ernestine Johnson (Pool Waitress), George Wallace (Randy the Dealer), Ray Proscia (Marcel Haffer), William Packer (JP the Driver), Janina Gavankar (Vanessa Martinez), Malea Rose (Waitress), Nicholas Guilak (Chef Cotillard), Floyd Mayweather (Himself), Coco (Coco), Drake (Himself), Ronald B. DeVoe (Himself), Cheryl Hines (Andrea - uncredited), Kelsey Grammer (Lee Fox - uncredited)

Buy Think Like a Man Too from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

Hollywood has long had rigid seasons. Fall through Christmas is when the serious movies with awards potential open. Big aspiring blockbusters open either between Thanksgiving and Christmas or between early May and mid-July. Everything else is best suited for the rest of the year. Horror movies tend to opt for Halloweentime or the less competitive parts of winter. Romance movies are typically well-served around Valentine's Day.
If a movie didn't cost that much and isn't expected to gross nine figures or more domestically, it can pretty much go to theaters at any time, either as counterprogramming to tentpoles or as a potential attraction during the slow months. This year's off-season smash hits The Lego Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier may cause studios to rethink such prevailing wisdom. But this is how it is and how it has been for a long time.

The rationale behind scheduling was absolutely in place in 2012, when Think Like a Man opened in late April. Bearing the Screen Gems banner that Sony uses on mid-range genre movies (e.g. the Underworld series) as well as minor and niche wide releases, this romantic comedy debuted in 2,000 theaters across from Disneynature's Chimpanzee in 1,500 theaters and Warner Bros.' Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Lucky One in 3,000. None of these new releases was anticipated to be a huge draw, nor were any of the recent openers like The Cabin in the Woods, Lockout, and Titanic 3D. The season belonged to The Hunger Games.

But Think Like a Man surprised many when it claimed first place with an opening weekend haul of $33.6 million. The $12 million production, adapted from Steve Harvey's 2009 self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, drew mixed reviews from critics, but it fared well enough with audiences to end up grossing $91.5 M domestically, a princely sum for such a modestly-priced April movie. Just before the end of its two and a half month run, Sony announced a sequel would be coming. Two years later, Think Like a Man Too arrived in theaters with its budget doubled, its theater count slightly elevated, and expectations heightened by a June release sandwiched between 22 Jump Street, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Transformers: Age of Extinction.

The wedding of Michael (Terrence J) and Candace (Regina Hall) assembles the gang in Las Vegas, including Michael's intrusive mother. Kevin Hart's personal success seems to bump his character Cedric Ward to lead and narrator.

This sequel goes high concept, sending the large ensemble cast to Las Vegas for the wedding of Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence J). Don't remember them? She has a kid from a previous marriage and he is an extreme mama's boy. It's easy to have forgotten the characters and couples introduced in the first film. There were so many of them that screentime was thinly sliced and no one individual or couple emerged as the lead.

This time around, there is one clear lead: Cedric Ward, played by Kevin Hart. The original was kind of Hart's first major showcase,
following years of supporting roles in mostly regrettable comedies (e.g. Epic Movie, Superhero Movie , and Extreme Movie). In the past two years, the fast-talking, diminutive comedian has had success in his stand-up movie Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and across from Ice Cube in this year's first hit, the buddy action comedy Ride Along. Think...Too embraces the actor's popularity and essentially makes this The Kevin Hart Show.

Picked by Michael as best man, Cedric is determined to be the best best man ever. He's not scrimping either. He's sprung for the Constantine Villa at Caesars Palace, which comes with full VIP treatment including his own personal butler. Needless to say, this will cost Cedric considerably more than the $4,000/night he claims he's paying per a "gold card special."

Girls will be girls....

The weekend emerges as a battle of the sexes, as the men and women try to outdo each other with their respective bachelor and bachelorette parties. To keep Hart present at all times, Cedric narrates the film, relying (far too) heavily on basketball analogies to describe the men and women's separate encounters.

Assorted subplots are fittingly written in for the characters. Zeke (Romany Malco) and Mya (Meagan Good) have to confront his past life as a player when he's repeatedly recognized around Sin City as "Zeke the Freak." Kristen (Gabrielle Union) and Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) are trying to conceive, though the scheduled intercourse is putting a damper on their spirits. Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) and Dominic (Michael Ealy) coincidentally each get attractive job offers while there, though on opposite parts of the country.

The ladies' plans for a raunchy, rowdy evening are threatened by the presence of Loretta (Jenifer Lewis), Michael's judgmental, fun-sucking mother who has her own vision of a quiet dinner and a Dionne Warwick concert. The women are able to set her up with Candace's Uncle Eddie (Dennis Haysbert), a smooth operator who's there when needed. The other potential wet blanket -- the boring and white Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) -- gets a makeover and becomes one of the girls.

Once again, white characters are presented as the butts of jokes, from Tish's fanny pack-wearing husband (Gary Owen) to Michael's unexpectedly preppy frat brothers (Adam Brody and David Walton). Were things reversed, some would take obvious offense, but it's tough to get worked up about the subtext of something so silly, no matter how tacky, overt, and commonplace that design is.

...and boys will be boys.

It's pretty much a free-for-all for the men and women alike. It is no exaggeration to say that the movie randomly turns into a music video for Bell Biv DeVoe's early '90s rap classic "Poison", which the women sing spiritedly.
Cedric takes to the blackjack table to win back all the money he discovers he's spending (ten times what he thought). There are celebrity cameos from the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Drake, and Coco. Familiar white actors, like Kelsey Grammer and Cheryl Hines, pop in unadvertised and uncredited.

Think...Too gets away from Harvey's self-help book to just let the characters be themselves and do their own thing. The results are not particularly coherent or creative. It's basically black, hard-PG-13 versions of The Hangover and Bridesmaids in one movie. One notices some improvised bits (mostly from Hart) and presumes a lot of scenes were shot and deleted (the scant deleted scenes suggests otherwise). In spite of that messy design and that unwieldy cast, the film manages to entertain pretty consistently. At least until it brings the men and women's narratives together at an amateur male stripper contest that Cedric sees as the answer to his money woes. At this point, the movie basically devolves into CBS sitcom jokes that fall flat without the support of a laugh track. It makes a noble attempt to recover with a sincere, inevitable ending. But it's tough to get back on track after the wrong turn of a night where everyone winds up in prison.

This sequel opened in first place with nearly as big a splash as its predecessor, enough to narrowly eclipse second week holdovers Jump Street and Dragon 2 as well as handily best the underperforming Clint Eastwood-directed Jersey Boys (the stage version of which gets mocked several times, perhaps in a bit of friendly competition). Too didn't hold up as well as the original, finishing with $65.2 million. That was still more than enough, even with the doubled budget, to push this to profitability.

Nonetheless, you perhaps shouldn't hold your breath for a threequel. The weekend after this opened, a production company behind this series and other Kevin Hart vehicles dissolved and was hit by a lawsuit from a shareholder. That could complicate the possibility of a follow-up, although a Ride Along 2 is still scheduled for January 2016. It's unclear if either Think's makers or fans want another one after Too's fine but significantly diminished performance.

In any event, Think...Too recently hit DVD and Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. We look at the latter here.

Think Like a Man Too Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English, French, Portuguese), Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVS, Spanish, Thai)
Subtitles: English, English for Hearing Impaired, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English, Chinese Traditional, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($30.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Sony consistently puts out some of the best-looking and sounding Blu-rays. This one is no exception. The 2.40:1 visuals are sharp, vibrant, and without incident. The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is commendable as well, doing a fine job of distributing dialogue and a steady flow of licensed music.

The ladies (Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, and Taraji P. Henson) are amused by their new white friend Tish's attempt to get wild in this deleted scene. Kevin Hart tries to identify script page numbers as he presents a detailed synopsis of the film as only he can.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's all-HD extras begin with the obligatory gag reel (4:33),
which offers a mix of cast horseplay, flubs, and contagious laughter.

Next up come six short deleted scenes (6:47). They give us more shenanigans from both the women and men, Zeke getting a scare that he sired an ex's child, and some short additions to existing bits.

"Think Like a Man Too According to Kevin Hart" (5:06) has the actor relay the entire movie's plot, or really just his parts. While it's not clear who stands to gain from this detailed recap, Hart injects some humor in his unrehearsed retelling.

"The Ultimate Sequel" (10:44) is a general making-of featurette that gathers enthusiastic cast and crew remarks about doing a sequel and how this one differs from the first.

The Think Like a Man Too Blu-ray's collage menu ensures the entire principal cast is pictured.

"Lights, Camera, Vegas!" (6:06), of course, talks up the thrill of filming in Las Vegas and the different locations visited. You're welcome, Las Vegas Tourism!

"Comedy Las Vegas Style" (8:48) offers more behind-the-scenes footage
and tongue-in-cheek cast comments. Hart and company diss and dish (mostly lies) about one another.

The disc opens with trailers for No Good Deed, Annie (2014), 22 Jump Street, and When the Game Stands Tall. A Previews submenu provides individual access to all of those plus trailers for What If and About Last Night (2014). Think...Too's trailer is regrettably absent.

The menu attaches score to a static collage. Sony kindly authors the Blu-ray to support bookmarks and let you resume playback.

The studio forgoes a slipcover here, though they do include a downloadable/streamable Digital HD UltraViolet version of the film, the subject of the one insert within the side-snapped keepcase.

Cedric (Kevin Hart) has an idea about how to make back the money he's unwittingly spent.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Think Like a Man Too is consistently entertaining if familiar with its Las Vegas-set battle of the sexes. This sequel loses its way and wanders into unfunny sitcom territory in its second half, but it still has enough humor to at least sporadically divert those who enjoyed the first movie and the large, charismatic cast reunited.

Sony's Blu-ray supplies first-rate picture and sound plus a decent collection of extras. With the right expectations, this makes for a perfectly adequate rental.

Buy Think Like a Man Too from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Reviewed September 26, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2014 Sony, Screen Gems, Will Packer Productions, L Star Capital, Media Rights Capital, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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