Before 12 Years a Slave turned Chiwetel and Lupita into household names and became a blockbuster “black movie”—whatever that means—it was 2012’s Think Like a Man that was an unlikely hit. The loose adaptation of Steve Harvey’s self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man earned nearly $100 million and forced the film industry to reconsider the possibilities of films starring African Americans—especially in a climate where neither “black” nor “rom-com” titles were considered particularly profitable.
Its sequel, this weekend’s Think Like a Man Too, aims to do that again.
The movie features the exact same roster of leading black film stars as its predecessor—Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Taraji P. Henson, Meagan Good and Gabrielle Union, among others—and adds many new and diverse faces. Harvey himself, who doesn’t make an appearance in the film, surprisingly, and the book that started it all are hardly mentioned. Instead, the entire crew gives up the dating and relationship rule book for a wild night in Vegas, where a race to the altar becomes a mad-dash challenge for the men and women to outdo each other on the way, resulting in some hilarious high jinks you’d expect from a flick like The Hangover, but far more family friendly.
It’s a fun film that allows Kevin Hart’s typical brand of self-deprecating humor to energize its two hours and contrast a whole heap of relationship revelations. Too thrives in its intricate and diverse explorations of the other couples as they deal head-on with issues of commitment, marriage and fatherhood. While the end results aren’t unexpected, Hart says that the movie’s running theme of tying the knot is indicative of a new age of love and relationships.
“We’re in a time period where marriage happens when it’s supposed to,” he told reporters at a Wednesday screening of the film in New York, discussing the franchise’s complex portrayals of relationships. “It happens when it feels right, and it’s not something that can be forced. In our movie, we show how timing is everything. And as a divorced man, I could be scorned—but I’m not! If it doesn’t happen right the first time, you learn from it and move on. It’s not about an overall message, it’s about showing people as they are.”
Think Like a Man Too is in theaters Friday.
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Terron Moore is social media editor at The Root. Follow him on Twitter.