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THINK LIKE A MAN TOO

Think Vegas, Baby
A new movie for these characters required a new location, especially since each of the couples has undergone some type of a transition since we last saw them. In the sequel, the narrative catalyst is that one of the couples is getting married-Candace, the single mom and Michael, the mama's boy. With that in mind, Packer and Story flew to Las Vegas' world-famous "Strip" to scout the lavish Caesars Palace and fun-filled Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino as central locations. Story says, "We were looking for the next playground to up the stakes and the visual presentation. When we knew we were going to have one of the couples get married, you think about a destination wedding. But Vegas gives you the best of both worlds, which is the beauty of what the wedding could be, but also the possibility of problems. So Vegas was that place that we thought this group would get in a lot of trouble."

It wound up providing the perfect setting for a weekend of anticipatory tension regarding the wedding's preparation, followed by the bachelor/bachelorette escapades which ultimately threaten the event itself. The sequel would take all the characters to Sin City and drop them in the middle of everything that it's known for-the lights, the gambling and the glitz. "The first film was definitely a romantic comedy. It was about building relationships," Packer says. "This one is an out-and-out romp, as they try to, literally, survive the weekend in Vegas." With Las Vegas set as the backdrop, it essentially becomes a character in the movie. Actor Jerry Ferrara, who plays Jeremy, says, "Las Vegas keeps grabbing us and bringing us into its dungeon. As an actor and as an audience member, I like to see these big, sweeping wide shots of where we are. But then I actually like to know when they cut to the close shots that they're still there and they're not cheating it on the stage somewhere. Vegas has been crucial."

Caesars Palace is definitely a focal location for the film. The majority of the film was shot all over the world famous hotel; from its restaurants (such as Nobu) to its decadent swimming pools to its teeming Casino floors. The film was even granted exclusive access into shooting in their extravagant and glamorous high-roller suites, generally reserved for A-list movie stars and dignitaries.

LaLa Anthony, who plays Sonia, Mya's best friend, says the Vegas location sparked some wild new sequences. "It's Vegas, so you never know what to expect," says Anthony. "There's a scene where we recreate 'Poison'" - the Bell Biv Devoe hit from the 90s - "and we do a whole karaoke thing, and we're dancing, and it turns into a music video. That's really fun. So many things happen, but none of them are far-fetched when you're in Las Vegas, because you hear about these kinds of things happening all the time. So it all makes sense but it adds to the humor and the layers and the depth of the sequel." The ladies had fun not only filming the fun sequence, but being in the recording studio together beforehand to record their vocals for it. The result is one of the film's most memorable moments.

With the women getting more screen time in the sequel, Kevin Hart says it gives audiences a chance to better appreciate what they can do. "We've got some talented women in this movie, and I think it shows. They hold their own in their scenes and you forget about the guys when they're on, and then the guys come up and it's a completely different thing, and when we all come together, it's another movie within itself."

Eventually, the craziness of Vegas becomes for the characters a trial by fire for their relationships. Says co-screenwriter David Newman, "The theme of it is, Vegas is the greatest place in the world to come, unless you come as couples, even worse, a married couple, and the worst idea of all: to get married. And that sort of became our driving principle."

But as his writing partner Keith Merryman observes, "The irony is really, with the temptations of Vegas, it ultimately brings everybody closer together and they realize what is really important through this night."

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