This may just be a pet peeve involving semantics, but the use of the word “too” in sequel titles over the past 30 years has been really irritating. The logical reason for having a title ending in the word — as opposed to the explanation that it’s simply different from using the homophonic number, as “2,” “II” or “Two” — is to indicate that the new movie is not so much a continuation of the original as a fresh start with a similar protagonist or premise. “Too” in this case means “also,” as in another. Sure, it can also mean “more,” but it makes greater sense if Think Like a Man Too is about new characters who must think like men rather than the same guys who must further think like men. But it isn’t.
I’m not sure of any kind of literary precedent to the “too” sequel prior to Hollywood’s apparent first use in 1984. There isn’t an easy way to filter through the history of books for examples. But it is something that occurs, and just recently there was a work of erotic fiction called “Checking Her Cherry, Too,” which must be commended for getting the usage correct. According to the official description on Amazon, “It’s not necessary to have read the first ‘Checking Her Cherry’ to enjoy this story, but after reading it, you’ll certainly want to! This sequel features different characters, but shares the same title theme.”
Clearly it’s not too difficult to understand when “too” is appropriate for a sequel’s title. The best time is when the sequel is a standalone entity, maybe a spin-off or something in name only. U.S. Marshals could have been called “The Fugitive Too,” for instance. Open Water 2: Adrift (aka Adrift) should be “Open Water Too,” also. It can even involve some same characters if it’s a whole new yet similar plot. Speed 2: Cruise Control would work as simply “Speed Too“. And as I’ve written elsewhere, I think the “too” sequel could work well for superhero movie reboots set in the same universe/chronology as previous installments.
Below is a chronological list of movies and one movie-related book with “too” in the title, most of them annoyingly named without logic.
The Jerk, Too (1984) – This TV movie, which I assume was intended to be the pilot for a series based on the movie, would be a proper “too” sequel if it weren’t for the fact that the main character is named Navin Johnson (played by Mark Blankfield), same as Steve Martin’s role in the original. There’s not really any other link to the movie, though. Even the female lead, while named Marie, is a different person. If we accept it as a story of another idiot with the same time, the title fits.
“Fletch, Too” (1985) – The homophonic reasoning doesn’t apply to this novel, which is the ninth in Gregory McDonald’s series, except that it follows the prior book’s title of “Fletch Won.” As for the application to the story, there is another Fletch involved in a way, as the plot revolves around Irwin Fletcher’s dad, Walter Fletcher.
Teen Wolf Too (1987) – One of the best fits for the proper “too” sequel concept, this movie is a spin-off that follows a whole other teen wolf from the one in the 1985 original. It’s the first character’s cousin. Of course, it also proves a problem for this type of follow-up in that it’s really just a rehash with a new hero.
Splash, Too (1988) – A two-part TV special shown under the Disney Sunday Movie banner, this sequel’s title is all wrong. There’s not a new guy in love with a mermaid nor a new mermaid — Madison does strangely have new super powers, though. “Too” doesn’t make any sense with the word “splash” anyway. There are two interesting bits of casting here: the actor playing the Tom Hanks role from the original is Tom Waring, who also took over Hanks’s role in a TV show based on Nothing in Common; and The Jerk, Too‘s Mark Blankfield appears in this movie as a scientist.
Look Who’s Talking Too (1990) – Another proper usage can be found in this sequel to the hit inner-monologue baby comedy of the previous year. The “too” here pertains to another baby who is “talking.” This one voiced by Roseanne Barr (taking over from Joan Rivers in the sequel tease at the end of the original). Think of it as “Look Who’s Talking, Also,” and the title is perfect. They did well again with the next installment, Look Who’s Talking Now, which focused on giving dogs the inner voices. Pretty good for such a stupid franchise.
Scooby Too (2004) – According to IMDb, that was the working title in Canada for Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, which would have been our first “too” sequel in 14 years. Fortunately it didn’t catch on elsewhere because it’s a good pun with no purpose.
Teed Off Too (2006) – National Lampoon’s second installment of hidden-camera pranks on golf courses is again hosted by David Leisure. As far as I know, the only way “too” fits here is to mean “more” silly pranks.
Miracle Dogs Too (2006) – The third perfectly fitting usage came with this movie that is completely unrelated to the 2003 original, which starred future Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson. The plot is basically a repeat, though, with another set of dogs magically curing people in another small town. There is one actor who appears in both movies, as different characters.
Pretty Cool Too (2007) – Another bad movie that at least is titled appropriately. Rolfe Kanefsky’s original Pretty Cool is a Zapped-like teen movie where a loser acquires powers to make people (hot girls, mainly) do what he wants. In the director’s sequel, a different loser acquires a cell phone with a genie inside that grants him the powers to make people (hot girls, mainly) do what he wants.
Twitches Too (2007) – Disney Channel’s hit 2005 TV movie combining Harry Potter and Freaky Friday received this sequel two years later. I might as well say it was “too years later,” because that makes as much sense as why this is a “too” sequel.
I Got Five On It Too (2009) – To figure out whether or not this title works, we have to understand the meaning of the original. Is there another situation in the sequel where someone is going in halfsies on a bag of weed? Was there such a situation in the first movie? I haven’t seen either, but I’m going to give this low-budget pot comedy a pass.
Why Did I Get Married Too? (2010) – Tyler Perry‘s sequel to his 2007 movie Why Did I Get Married? has a nonsensical title no matter how you look at it. At first it just appears to be bad grammar, a terrible translation of what it means to say, which is: “Why Did I Get Married, Again?” As in, remind me why, because the first movie wasn’t enough. Or maybe it applies to Jill Scott’s character, who is now on her second marriage. “Too” doesn’t make a good substitute for “again” either way.
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011) – By now we can believe that producers are doing everything they can to defend the use of “too” in their titles, because this one had to be difficult. But not imperfect. This sequel to the 2005 indie animated feature brings back most of the same characters, but a different one of them is hoodwinked. That’s not really the main angle of the plot, though, so it’s really just an attempt at being clever. They were already fine with the “Hood vs. Evil” part, though, and would have been better off with the numeral version.
Route 30, Too! (2012) – From the son of Jean Stapleton comes this second installment of a trilogy that is set to finish up this year. Firstly, to be fair, it’s really quite difficult to slap a numeral at the end of a title already ending in a number. No matter how you try it, out loud it still sounds like Route 32. Yet the third part is basically titled Route 30 3 (IMdb at least spells it out as “three” but the DVD art does not). As for the acceptability regarding the plot, each sequel features all new stories set on the titular highway, so that at least works.
Think Like a Man Too (2014) – Some better titles might have been “Think Like a Man Again,” “Think Like a Man Still” or “Keep Thinking Like a Man.” And if we’re going for nonsensical, I’d have preferred “Another Think Like a Man.”