The ensemble romantic comedy "Think Like a Man" was one of 2012's surprise hits, taking in $91 million at the box office and giving a boost to red-hot comic actor Kevin Hart. Naturally, the sequel "Think Like a Man Too" ups the ante by taking the battle-of-the-sexes antics to Las Vegas for a wedding weekend and doubling down on Hart's motormouthed shtick.
According to film critics, though, "Think Like a Man Too" could have used less Hart and more originality.
The Times' Betsy Sharkey writes, "Hart hits such adrenaline-fueled extremes it's exhausting. … As funny as Hart can be, and there is no doubt he is funny, 'Too' is a case of too much Hart."
As for the Sin City angle, Sharkey says, "The film works through every cliche on its way to the vows … But if you can look past the cliches and [Hart's] high wattage and high-pitched screeching, there are some interesting things going on in the sequel, including its core message that love and marriage really do go together and its code of gender equality."
The Washington Post's Ann Hornaday calls the movie a "derivative, intermittently amusing follow-up" in which Hart "becomes such a grating presence that it's a relief when 'Think Like a Man Too' allows him brief respites offstage. But then, out of nowhere, he pops up with a piece of physical comedy too hilarious to be denied."
She adds that the "war-of-the-sexes tropes are tiresome, for sure, as are the obvious lifts from such predecessors as 'The Hangover,' 'Bridesmaids' and 'Magic Mike.' But that's not to say that 'Think Like a Man Too' doesn't occasionally generate its own laughs, especially during a hard-partying sequence that devolves into an improvised Bell Biv DeVoe video."
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune calls "Think Like a Man Too" a "disappointing step down, and backward." Hart, he says, is allowed to "hijack whole sections of the Las Vegas-set hijinks as he lets loose with his little verbal tsunamis of braggadocio."
Phillips adds, "Surprises in 'Think Too' are few, though some bits … make up for the grinding familiarity of Hart's voice-over narration: 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.' Really? We needed to be reminded of that one?"
In an outright pan, USA Today's Claudia Puig declares the movie "silly, unfunny and formulaic," and says it "might have been more accurately titled 'Think Like the Most Hackneyed Rom-com Team Around.'''
The film, Puig says, "comes off like a PG-13-rated 'Hangover' with moments recalling 'Bridesmaids' and 'What Happens in Vegas,'" and Hart is "irritatingly shrill."
The Boston Globe's Peter Keough writes that the sequel "has stolen from so many recent films that it's tempting to think of it as meta-movie, a deconstruction of every comedy that has been remotely successful over the past few years — 'Bridesmaids,' 'The Hangover,' 'The Best Man Holiday,' and just about every film that uses a variation of the line 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.'"
In the end, Keough says, "Though not nearly as much fun as an underrated gem like 'Bachelorette,' 'Think Like a Man Too' vastly surpasses the septic 'The Hangover Part III.' If [director Tim] Story and company keep thinking like filmmakers, maybe three will be the charm."