THINK LIKE A MAN TOO (Tim Story). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (June 20). See listing. Rating: N
Think Like A Man Too opens with Frank Sinatra singing Luck Be A Lady, a soothing sound that's immediately interrupted by Kevin Hart's obnoxious screeching. That's a sign of things to come in this unfortunate Las Vegas-set sequel, which takes advantage of Hart's box office clout by promoting his character, Cedric, from comic relief to narrator, focal point and vacuous black hole that sucks up all the air in the room.
On paper, Cedric should remain a supporting player amidst the returning couples whose romantic dramas are rehashed here.
Jeremy (Jerry Ferrera), who was hesitant to marry Kristen (Gabrielle Union), is now reluctant to become a father; independent woman Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) is still struggling to put her relationship with Dominic (Michael Ealy) ahead of her career; Mya (the memorably charming Meagan Good) is now coping with the tally of women that her former playboy boyfriend Zeke (Romany Malco) has in his past; and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) has yet to conquer his mama's-boy issues even on the eve of his wedding to single mom Candace (Regina Hall). That wedding's brought the whole gang to Vegas.
Hart's Cedric is just there, assuming best-man duties after an odd misunderstanding and steamrolling over everyone else's problems with his motor-mouth tirades and physical antics. He's Roger Rabbit unleashed on the set of Dr. Phil.
The audience at the screening I saw ate up everything Hart had to say despite the absence of actual jokes. It's as if we've been conditioned by his three movies per year to find his very presence hysterical. The film can't last three minutes without returning to Hart, ignoring the talents of the remaining ensemble.
The filmmakers seem to believe that if somebody is making a joke and Hart isn't there to play off it, the punchline doesn't deserve to be heard.