THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY review by Gary Murray – a sequel 15 years in the making

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY review by Gary Murray – a sequel 15 years in the making


The Best Man Holiday is the sequel from the 1999 film The Best Man. The original film was a modest hit that grossed much more than its budget and did massive numbers in DVD sales. It was nominated for different awards and even picked-up a few trophies. The sequel starts with different snippets from the first film, giving the audience a taste of what came before and the characters involved. It catches folks up on the last fifteen years.

The focus of the beginning is on Harper (Taye Diggs), a writer who is in a slump having his latest novel rejected. His publisher suggests that he write a bio of Lance (Morris Chestnut), a football player who is about to retire and break the NFL rushing record. Lance has a focus of “God, family and football.” The two men had a massive split from the first film and no longer talk. Lance’s wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) has invited the entire gang to their mansion for the Christmas holiday. Everyone shows up and the sparks fly.

Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) has become a reality television star and lives in full diva mode. Julian (Harold Perrineau) runs a school and his having trouble with financing and his marriage. A video has surfaced that causes troubles. Quentin (Terrence Howard) is a guy who just wants to party. Everyone in the cast has some kind of personal challenge that affects the others in the group.

The film is of how being in such close quarters brings about old emotional wounds. Since different people have been bedfellows, there is a sexual tension that runs throughout the house. As the group gets closer to Christmas, a tragedy with a character rears up and changes the group dynamic. It all climaxes in Lance’s final game of the regular season and his attempt at breaking the rushing record.

The part of this film that was most important was in the design of the characters. Every African-American in the production is a part of the upper middle class, being a element of successful Manhattan society. They are all thriving in their careers and are making a difference in the world. It is a positive reflection of how to make it through education and drive.

The cast is also quite impressive. Terrence Howard shines in his supporting role, delivering comic jab time and time again, saving the film on more than one occasion. The same can be said about Melissa De Sousa, who is over the top to the point that she is almost a caricature, attacking her friends just because she can. Both Taye Diggs and Morris Chestnut are remarkable leading men who are both stubborn and loving within the same beats. Each is dealing with personal challenges while trying to keep a brave face. They are two actors who prove that they can handle the leading man roles and should get more shots at featured performances.

The biggest problem with The Best Man Holiday is with the screenplay structure. It goes from mirth to pathos with extremes that resemble riding a rollercoaster. This film plunges into the depths of weepy melodrama then pulls out with a joke. It becomes a schizophrenic exercise that yo-yo’s the audience. The other problem is in the editing. When one notices the edits, then they are too hard and heavy. On more than one occasion, the film chops along, scene to scene… it is sadly not smooth on a large screen.

To be honest, The Best Man Holiday is not truly made for me, an older white guy. It is made for the young, hip urban audience. That audience will probably enjoy the experience while I found the film well-acted but a bit trite. Judge for yourself this weekend.

BEST MAN HOLIDAY opens November 15, 2013

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