Michael and Candace are in love. And they want nothing more than to get married and live happily ever after. To that end, Las Vegas seems like both a solid solution and cool vacation destination.
I mean, there are plenty of nice hotels to choose from there. Built-in entertainment is everywhere in the form of night club acts and shows. You can book a beautiful garden area for the nuptials. And it can all be had at a relatively cheap price.
Of course, the loving pair didn't quite think everything through. I mean, they didn't even begin to factor in Michael's controlling mom, Miss Loretta. Even though a Vegas wedding is supposed to be an easy peasy package deal, well, nothing's ever easy with her. To be honest, she doesn't think Candace—a divorced single mom—is even close to good enough for her Michael. But if it's going to happen, it's going to be to her specs.
And what about their friends? They're all great and all. But they're kinda self-focused at times. And even though Michael and Candace would like everything to be low-key (maybe just have a nice dinner and see a show), this gaggle of friends is pushing for a last-night-of-freedom big-bash blowout.
That's especially true for Michael's crazy buddy Cedric. He somehow got the notion that Michael wants him to be his best man (even though Michael was asking Dom to take that role), and so he's planned an outrageous extravaganza full of splashing suds and naked girls.
From the ladies' perspective, hey, if the guys are gonna go wild, they will too! They'll take Candace out on the town. Hot outfits. Booze. Male strippers. The whole what-happens-in-Vegas-stays-in-Vegas shebang.
And here it comes, dear reader, the punch line of the movie that was so enticing, apparently, that it prompted its creators to give the concept a second go: If a girl wants to really have fun in this party town, she'd better start thinking like a man.
Cedric narrates the "festivities," and though he's an odd-duck choice when it comes to delivering any moral lessons—being a guy on the verge of divorce who we see constantly make the worst kinds of relationship and life choices—he manages to point out some good moves that his friends make by film's end. Two lovebirds, for instance, forgo career boosts in order to stay near each other and make their relationship work. One of the guys admits that finding a loving partner has helped him step back from his former sleep-around ways, and he proposes to his love to prove it. Somebody else comes to realize that the prospect of emotionally "growing up" and raising a family of his own is something he really desires.
The biggest positive, though, is the solid connection shared by the betrothed Michael and Candace. They reluctantly go along with their friends' bachelor and bachelorette party plans, but they eventually make it clear—when things really start sliding sideways—that all they really wanted to do was devote themselves to each other while sharing that celebration of love with their closest friends.
Michael proudly announces that Candace's young son asked to be able to call him Dad after the marriage. Another dad in the group expresses the joy he gets from being a good father. Though Candace has plenty of reason to be really annoyed with Michael's mom, she still praises the woman, telling Michael, "She's the reason you have become the man that you are."
Miss Loretta warns Cedric that her son has "always been a good Christian boy," so they'd better not do anything on their boys'-night-out that would negatively impact that status.
Her warning doesn't hinder the debauched bachelor party activities even a little.
Cedric declares that every guy will be responsible for having sex with at least five women. He crows about getting to have 24 hours of "joy" before some of them have to return to their sexless married lives. They go to a pool filled with throngs of women in barely there bikinis—and some of the tiny tops aren't there at all. (The topless girls' backs and sides are visible.) A stop at a strip club features women wearing skimpy/sexy outfits or bikinis while writhing around on table tops and on a stripper's pole. At both locations, Cedric does a lot of raw talking and even more bug-eyed ogling. He stares intently at a stripper's exposed backside.
To help alleviate Cedric's money problems, the guys don Village People-style outfits to compete in a strip-off. And that's where they cross paths with their lady counterparts who are by now fully engaged in their whole "think like a man" thing and dragging Candace in for a male stripper lap dance. She winds up on the stage with a number of buff men dressed in skimpy undies. One guy waves his barely covered crotch in her face while she is "forced" to grab his backside.
One couple is seen in bed after sex—he's shirtless and in boxers, she's in a revealing slip. Another pair talks of sexual role-play games and donning libido-firing costumes. Cedric is naked in a huge hot tub, his lower half obscured by lightly swirling water. He also dances in nothing but tight briefs and an open shirt, shaking his crotch at the camera. We see pictures of 1950s showgirls and strippers; some are topless (with backs to the camera).
Even Miss Loretta eventually gets in on these dirty deeds, ending up in bed with Candace's Uncle Eddie.
There are physical pratfalls and comedic bonks throughout the pic, many of which involve Cedric and his spitfire temper. For instance, he windmills into a fight with several of his friends in their hotel lobby. He and friend Bennett are tossed to the carpet and pinned by boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s bodyguards. And while dressed as the Flintstones' Bam Bam, Cedric takes off after a male stripper with a plastic club, starting a full-blown punching, slamming riot in a strip club. Cedric's angry wife threatens repeatedly to kill him for overextending her credit card (to the tune of $40,000).
Crude or Profane Language
A half-dozen s-words. "H‑‑‑," "a‑‑" and "b‑‑ch" pop into the dialogue six or eight times each, along with over a dozen exclamations of "d‑‑n." God's and Jesus' names are both misused; God's is combined with "d‑‑n." The n-word gets spit out once or twice. A variety of foul references (including "d‑‑k," "p‑‑‑y" and "t‑tties") are made to male and female body parts.
Drug and Alcohol Content
An ice bucket full of Cristal Champagne bottles seems to be on every table in Vegas, and all the guys and gals are constantly guzzling the stuff. And when they're not pouring or swilling that, they down bottles of beer, shots or whatever kind of mixed drink or flaming alcoholic concoction is at hand.
Marijuana "strips" make an appearance, too, with most of the girls "accidentally" popping them into their mouths. The combination of booze and drugs has the ladies dancing on table tops, throwing roundhouse punches and generally jettisoning all inhibitions.
The pot strips come from Jeremy, one of the guys in the group. He laments that his wife is forcing him to cut back on his joint smoking because they're trying to have a baby. "'Cause I can only deal with one stoned child at a time," the wife says.
Other Negative Elements
The guys gamble. Lowball gags are splattered throughout—ranging from jokes about urination, infidelity and prison rape to some racially charged asides.
The war between the sexes shifts from the basics of dating relationships and sex (in Think Like a Man) to the battlefront of marriage and, well, OK, once again, sex. Like its predecessor, this pic has a few solid things to say by film's end. It praises the emotionally fulfilling aspects of being in a loving relationship. And it talks about the healing and affirming things that can come from couples choosing to interact with self-sacrificial respect and devotion.
Obtusely, this carryover cadre of guys and gals seems to have all but forgotten all that stuff from the last go-round. They're gathering this time for a friend's nuptials … but once they step off the plane in Vegas, they go where oh-so-many Vegas-based movie romps have gone before:
Straight into the gutter.
It's not long before the genders split up into opposing teams in an attempt to out-debauch each other and drum up a city full of sin in the original Sin City. And moviegoers are dragged yet again through randy and raw sexuality, drug and alcohol abuse, and all sorts of other general foulnesses.
Yes, even in Las Vegas we can eventually get to a few sweet relational affirmations. But by then it's been a long, bleary-eyed, skin-baring night. And our moviegoing hangover has already begun to set in.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Kevin Hart as Cedric; Regina Hall as Candace; Terrence Jenkins as Michael; Michael Ealy as Dominic; Taraji P. Henson as Lauren; Gabrielle Union as Kristen; Jerry Ferrara as Jeremy; Wendi McLendon-Covey as Tish; Romany Malco as Zeke; Meagan Good as Mya
Tim Story (Ride Along, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Think Like a Man, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Taxi, Barbershop)
June 20, 2014
Bob Hoose Bob Hoose