I’m f**king exhausted with sh*tty, manufactured films set in Vegas meant to capitalize on the vision many people have of the city but that doesn’t actually exist in reality. Vegas is like one of those prefab communities that gets shipped in on trucks and assembled, and the only reason people think it’s fun is because the goddamn city won’t stop shouting ‘YOU’RE HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE’ in your face-space while you’re trying to find a goddamn moment of peace.
Anybody that’s ever been to Vegas knows that while it looks like what you see in the movies only smaller, the experience itself is empty and dumb. There’s like 30 casinos and they all look the f*cking same other than some slight thematic variations, and they’re all laid out to ensure that you get lost trying to find your fucking way out of the place. And if you don’t want to gamble, you can always go to a casino bar and pay $12 for a shitty drink that takes half an hour to arrive, which you can spend people watching.
People watching in Vegas, by the way, turns out to the be most depressing goddamn activity on the face of the planet. Why? Because Vegas is both the “City of Sin” and it’s also strangely a huge tourist destination for families. You want to watch a woman chainsmoke while she pushes a baby stroller through rows and rows of slot machines at 3 a.m.? VEGAS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU. You want to watch a schlubby suburban family of four roll their suitcases through half-naked women and clouds of cologne on their way to hotel reception? You want to watch a sea of douchebags with expensive ill-fitting shirts stand around contemplating what table they’re going to lose all their money on, or which woman they are going to strike out with next? Or maybe one of your skeevy married buddies will walk over to the elevator banks, strike up a conversation, and return half an hour later with a face full of remorse and $300 less in their wallet.
You don’t have fun in Vegas. You spend a lot of money and the city tries to convince you that you’re having fun while you’re navigating through streets of dudes handing out flyers and business cards for “escort” services until you find a restaurant named after a vagina (no, seriously) where you wait 45 minutes to spend too much money for a shitty meal while you and your friends talk about all the “fun” you’re having. Vegas is like law school: Everyone wants to go, and there’s no way to convince them that it sucks until they experience it themselves.
And yet, countless movies are made each year set in Vegas, and I’m convinced that the city tourism board writes and directs these goddamn things. They’re less movies, and more shitty two-hour infomercials with famous people in them. They drink, and they gamble, and they never wait in lines, and they never walk around for three hours waiting for their one friend who actually made money at the tables to finish, they never betray any self-consciousness in strip bars, and they never look like they just crawled out of a hairy burp and fell half-dead onto a barstool.
They never show the guy with a bucket of quarters who has been sitting on the same leather-padded stool for 3 hours, fat rolls hanging out of the bottom of his shirt, pulling that lever over and over; or the countless old ladies with cigarettes barely hanging on their lips staring dead-eyed into machines that all make vaguely the same fucking sounds. The movies only show you the young, attractive people in Vegas, and never the haggard, leathery middle-American faces that populate most of the city, all of whom look like they’ve just been stuck with a check they can’t afford. It’s a bleak, depressing place obscured by bright lights, pumped-in oxygen, and punishing neon, and there’s no where you can go to escape the streams of people or the fakeness that pervades the entire city. There’s a reason what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It’s because nobody wants to hear about the miserable fucking time you had there.
It’s also where Think Like a Man, Too is set, and believe it or not, I moderately enjoyed the original film. It had a certain charm to it, and a moment here and there that actually felt honest and relatable, Steve Harvey notwithstanding. The second film? Rubbish. It’s like spending two hours walking around with a rock in your scrotum. It’s like the worst of Kevin Hart: Shouty, loud, and abrasive, and it says absolutely nothing but it won’t stop flapping its goddamn mouth. There’s like 10 characters (or five couples), and they each get their own meaningless shitty sitcom plotlines that they listlessly journey through. There’s a bachelor party. There’s some gambling. There’s a strip club. They end up in jail, there’s a proposal, there’s a shopping sequence, there’s a wedding. It checks off all the Vegas benchmarks, and there’s not a single moment in the film that feels like anything more than a Vegas brochure designed to convince people that they might actually enjoy themselves in a fancy WalMart with blackjack tables and fountains. It’s a crap movie set in a crap city. Don’t f**king bother.