‘Best Man Holiday’ Does the Original Justice
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since the release of the popular movie The Best Man. The tale of friendship, love and betrayal became an instant classic, so much so that no one could have expected a sequel. Still, director and screenwriter Malcolm D. Lee brings back the entire cast for a highly anticipated follow-up that picks up right where the gang left off.
While The Best Man Holiday is nowhere as scandalous at the original, it’s just as dramatic and certainly does it justice. With a seasoned, star-studded cast starring Sanaa Lathan (Robyn), Nia Long (Jordan), Taye Diggs (Harper), Morris Chestnut (Lance), Terrence Howard (Quentin), Regina Hall (Candace), Monica Calhoun (Mia), Harold Perrineau (Julian) and Melissa De Sousa (Shelby), the romantic comedy delivers big.
The group of college friends (and their children) comes together for the Christmas holiday, with it being the first time in 15 years since they’ve all been at the same place at the same time. Lance still hasn’t fully forgiven Harper for sleeping with his wife, Mia, back in college, a pregnant Robyn suspects Harper still has a thing for Jordan, and Julian discovers something scandalous about his wife Candace’s past that could ruin his reputation and his business. But despite their personal hiccups, something unexpected causes the group to come together for a common cause, forcing them to appreciate the true value of Christmas and family. Here’s XXL’s review of the flick, with some of its best highlights.
This ain’t no Tyler Perry - With Tyler Perry’s monopoly of Black cinema, it’s refreshing to see a film with quality writing and acting. Though layered with the “Black” experience, Best Man Holiday isn’t limited to race or a particular demographic, though it certainly has a target audience. But unlike Perry, Lee creates a piece of work that is universal and more about the ups and downs of friendship and marriage, something everyone can relate to. With a cast of exceptional talent, the acting is damn-near flawless. Particularly towards the end of the film, the actors stretch themselves to extraordinary heights. What’s best is that the characters are mature and well heeled in their respective careers, and not stereotypical caricatures created for a sound bite. Lee also does a good job at balancing the humor and the drama, being sure not to tip the scale too far one way or the other. You’re sure to laugh and shed a tear or two all in the duration of the two-hour film.
Picks up right where we left off - Although it’s been 15 years, the Best Man Holiday doesn’t skip a beat from the last film. Lee meticulously pieces the narrative back together, right where we left off back in 1999. But even if you didn’t see the original, you’re not left out of the experience. The screenplay is written in such a way that you’re still able to follow the story.
The evolution of the characters - As a fan of the franchise, the audience will be thrilled to see the evolution of the characters. Harper is a seasoned author, Robyn is a chef at Harlem’s Red Rooster, Jordan is a big-time network executive and Shelby is, not surprisingly, a Real Housewives reality star. Each character gets a fair amount of camera time. The colorful variety of storylines and personalities make for great entertainment. But the film isn’t about their professional evolutions as much as it is about the evolution of their relationships.
Shocking ending - The film comes to a climatic end, and it’s pretty tragic. There won’t be a dry eye in the theater. It’s shocking, and it changes everything. But the best part is that Lee leaves room for a trilogy. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 15 years.—Gerren Keith Gaynor (@MRGERRENALIST)
XXL Rating: XL