Main man: Kevin Hart, right, in a scene from Think Like A Man Too with Michael Ealy. The film is now showing at Speciality Theatre. *Photo supplied
Main man: Kevin Hart, right, in a scene from Think Like A Man Too with Michael Ealy. The film is now showing at Speciality Theatre. *Photo supplied

Speciality Theatre

Think Like a Man Too

**

Stars: Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, Meagan Good, Michael Ealy, Jenifer Lewis, Romany Malco, Dennis Haysbert.

Director: Tim Story.

Rated: PG-13

Showing: Fri 2:30pm, 6:15pm; Sat 2:45pm, 6:30pm, 9:30pm; Sun

2:15pm, 5pm, 8pm; Mon- Thurs 2:45pm, 6:30pm,  9:30pm.

Runtime: 106 minutes

Comedy.

Sequels, as 22 Jump Street joked, are always “the same, only worse”.

So any pretense of insight into the battle of the sexes and any real connection to stand-up comic turned self-appointed relationships expert Steve Harvey’s book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, is long forgotten in Think Like a Man Too, the sequel to the surprise hit of two springs back.

Kevin Hart has become the break-out star of this ensemble, so Too is basically a star vehicle for the Manic Little Man — with Las Vegas as the playground for this Bridesmaids meets The Hangover.

This generally mild-mannered comedy sinks or swims on Hart’s back. And as one scene makes clear, Little Man can’t swim.

Our Think Like a Man couples head to Vegas, where Candace (Regina Hall) and Michael (Terrence Jenkins) are getting married.

Cedric (Hart) has mistakenly been named Best Man, and is spending every cent he’s got — and then some — for a bachelor party for the ages for Michael, with Dominic (Michael Ealy), Zeke the Freak (Romany Malco), Jeremy (Jerry Ferrara) and Bennett (Gary Owen) along for the ride. Business executive Lauren (Taraji P. Henson) has set up a bachelorette party for Candace, Mya (Meagan Good), Kristen (Gabrielle Union), Tish (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and Sonia (La La Anthony). 

If only the groom’s overbearing mom (Jenifer Lewis) will let her.

Hart’s Cedric narrates the tale, which feebly grasps at basketball metaphors to “keep score” as the two ensembles head out into the Sin City night.

22 Jump Street

****

Stars: Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Rated: R

Showing: Fri-Sat 2:30pm, 6pm; Sat 2:30pm, 6pm, 9pm; Sun 2:30pm, 5:30pm, 8:30pm; Mon 2:30pm, 9pm;  Tues-Thurs 2:30pm, 6pm, 9pm.

Runtime: 112 minutes

Action/comedy/crime

Remember that sinking feeling when the realization hit that The Hangover II was just a straight-up shakedown? That it was just a money grab that assaulted and left for dead the audience’s love for the original probably so someone in Hollywood could buy another Tesla?

Well, that’s not going to happen with 22 Jump Street, an equally unnecessary sequel that has one major saving grace: it has as many laughs as spring in Texas has tornadoes. The whole thing — from the mock, TV-episode opening (“previously on ‘21 Jump Street’”) to the wickedly-inspired closing credits imagining future sequels — it’s almost as nice a surprise as finding out someone has deposited a thousand bucks in your bank account.

It helps that the original directors (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller), main writer (Michael Bacall), and the core of the cast (Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube) are back. It helps that they’ve returned with tongues so far in cheek they might have swallowed them, coming up with a movie that is both a stone-head stupid and whip-smart commentary on sequels in a summer season full of them. More than that, though, it’s just plain funny.

Neptune Theatre

The Fault in Our Stars

****

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff.Director: Josh Boone

Rated: PG-13

Showing: Fri 7:30pm; Sat 7:30pm; Sun 5:30pm; Mon-Thurs 7pm.

Runtime: 131 minutes

Drama, romance.

Just so you know what you’re in for with The Fault in Our Stars: The film shows its teenage protagonist, Hazel (Shailene Woodley), who has stage IV cancer, struggling for breath while slowly ascending stairs at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. 

With oxygen tank in tow, Fault in Our Stars is not messing around. It wants your tears. It gets them, but less because of that scene’s symbolism overload but more because of the way Woodley plays this and every moment. She is a fresh and wonderful on-screen presence. 

Liberty Theatre

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (3D)

****

Stars: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler.

Director: Dean DeBlois

Rated: PG

Showing: Fri-Sat 1:30pm, 4:45pm, 7:30pm; Sun 2:30pm, 5:30pm; Mon-Thurs 4pm, 6:30pm.

Runtime: 102 minutes

Animation, action,
adventure.

In a pivotal moment of How To Train Your Dragon 2, new character Valka — the guardian of all dragons — tells our hero Hiccup that he has “the heart of a chief but the soul of dragon”.

The sequel to Dreamworks Animation’s successful 2010 run of How To Train Your Dragon expands on the emotions of the coming-of-age tale of a boy and his dragon. In a whirlwind intro scene, we return to the Isle of Berk five years after Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) showed the Vikings that dragons were not evil creatures. The town celebrates the union between human and beast with dragon races. What’s notably missing at the town’s celebration is the narrator of the story, Hiccup, and his trustworthy dragon, Toothless, the lovable Night Fury.

Hiccup is again avoiding his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler), who wants to groom Hiccup to eventually succeed him as chief. 

Hiccup distracts himself by going off on adventures to find new lands and new dragons. It’s on one of these lone adventures where his betrothed Astrid (America Ferrera) find Hiccup, who is mapping out everyone’s world but his own. 

The scenes quickly establish the emotional connection the boy has with his dragon.

The crux of the film is the fierce and loyal friendship of the two. 

At times, the story takes a darker turn, but it’s a worthwhile move that shows the storyteller is confident the audience will follow along to Hiccup’s discovery of his past to fulfil his destiny. 

ALL REVIEWS BY MCT