Dr. Donna Copeland’s





 Who really remembers the 1999 original The Best Man with all the same cast members? I honestly had forgotten it, but that isn’t to say this sequel, which certainly stands solely and entirely on its own merit, should be brushed aside. If ever there was a Grinch, it would be me, and I had zero interest in a holiday film about what looked like the same sort of relationships we see in all the Tyler Perry films or Baggage Claim just last month. Much to my surprise The Best Man Holiday is one of those bait and switch films that reels in the audience for a rated R relationship comedy and then is served up something quite different.

 It’s been 15 years since we last saw friends Lance (Chestnut), Harper (Diggs), Quentin (Howard) and Julian (Perrineau). Some of them have slept with each others wives, friends, siblings, etc; some of them are very successful while others are struggling to stay afloat. However they are all coming together for Mia (Calhoun) and Lance’s holiday get together at their mansion paid for by Lance’s record breaking football career. Harper is secretly planning to mend things with Lance in order to pitch him the idea of writing his biography so he can pay for the baby on the way. But aside from all the drama and mayhem that will occur they will all be humbled by the life of one.

 It’s true that Taye Diggs (Chicago, Baggage Claim) has become typecast as the good looking go-to-guy for these types of black comedies and while his role in the film is certainly perfunctory, it’s Oscar nominee Howard (Hustle & Flow, Crash) that really steals the show here. We have seen Howard take on wild and unpredictable roles, demonstrating his range and clear talent, but I don’t think I have ever seen him excel in such a comedic role that is dependent on timing. I’ve met Howard, and he isn’t someone bubbling with enthusiasm or comedy so to pull off a role like this was really impressive.

 The difference between what we call a “black comedy” and comedy is quite a lot I am afraid, almost always the black comedy is funnier, more inspired, and leaves you with a lesson learned (ask yourself what you learned from the last Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson or Vince Vaughn comedy). The Best Man Holiday isn’t dependent on the holiday theme thankfully and will work outside the season. One of the reasons this film was so surprising was how many themes they packed into one film, its heartbreaking, hilarious, outrageous, and meaningful and we manage to really get a good grip on who these people are going through the motions of life.

 Final Thought – A really entertaining and memorable holiday with some well written characters.

 Grade B+

By: Dustin Chase

The Best Man Holiday is soulful and very entertaining at the same time.  Malcolm D. Lee, the writer/director has woven together a fine Christmas story that reunites the characters in his earlier film (The Best Man) fifteen years before, and that will be enjoyed by many families.  It does have an R rating, however, so it is not for younger children or those who are sensitive to sexual references or foul language.  

 When New York Giants football player Lance (Morris Chestnut) and his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) invite a number of old friends and their families to celebrate Christmas in their elegant home, everyone is excited and a bit apprehensive.  Apprehensive because old rivalries, misunderstandings, secrets, and liaisons are still fresh on their minds.  The reason for the occasion is not clear until towards the end of the story.  

Lance and Harper (Taye Diggs) used to be best friends, but the tension between them still resonates.  Harper is with Robyn (Sanaa Lathan), who is expecting their first child after stressful fertility treatments, and Harper is experiencing writer’s block after his first book tanked.  Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) is still smarting from losing her boyfriend Julian (Harold Perrineau) to Candy (Regina Hall), a former stripper.  So Shelby goes after Quentin (Terrence Howard), although there are more often biting insults between them rather than sweet talk.  This is one of Howard’s best roles, and he provides most of the hilarity with his observations and comebacks.  Jordan (Nia Long) is a driven career woman who is dating Brian (Eddie Cibrian), a white man, which provides the opportunity for the group to take friendly jabs at stereotypic white/black differences.

 The story moves along at a lively pace, interspersed with heart-to-heart talks, major life events, competitions and outright fights, and inspirational messages and support for one another.  You laugh, you cry, and are at times very moved by these oh-so-human interactions.  

Grade:  B