A busy, energetically pitched ensemble comedy that ultimately elicits more weariness than laughs, director Tim Story’s follow-up to surprise spring 2012 hit Think Like a Man, adapted from Steve Harvey’s 2009 book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, can’t decide whether it wants to assay modern relationships or just thrash around in the wading pool of Las Vegas-set clichés. It settles for waving its arms, making noise and pointing out that change unsettles all of us, men and women.
Returning scribes Keith Merryman and David. A. Newman ably deliver delineated characters. But they’re so busy servicing the various relationship crises of their couples that there’s a paucity of jokes that push past anything other than the most obvious, surface-level set-ups. If the first film traded on friction between established types (e.g., “The Mama’s Boy,” “The Non-Committer,” “The Player,” “The Girl Who Wants the Ring”), the extent to which the advice of Harvey’s book still serves as an inspiration seems here to be limited to a couple rejoinders and a scratchy, ill-fitting voiceover narration from Kevin Hart, in which he randomly invokes basketball analogies.
Story (Barbershop, the Fantastic Four films) is capable of locating humor amidst resonance, but here he seems beholden to some invisible, overcharged pace car, chasing loud, cheap laughs in a manner that reliably undercuts any moments of more emotionally grounded reality. For the full, complete review, from Screen Daily, click here. (Sony/Screen Gems, PG-13, 106 minutes)