The Best Man Holiday
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I saw The Best Man in 1999 and loved the movie...more importantly, I loved Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs. Just so beautiful to look at. Though the storyline was only slightly different from some of the movies of the time, I still really enjoyed it. So, when promos for the sequel, The Best Man Holiday started playing in theaters in 2013, I vowed to make an effort to see the film. Unfortunately, I missed it while in theaters. So, I sacrificed - the holiday season was over, so I waited for the next holiday season just so I could review it at an appropriate time for our G-POP fans.
The gang is back and are reuniting for a Christmas celebration at the home of star New York Giants running back Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut), his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) and their children. Harper Stewart (Taye Dggs) is extremely reluctant to appear, as things have never been the same between Harper and Lance since his first hit novel and all of the truth it eventually revealed. His pregnant wife, Robin (Sanaa Lathan) thinks it's a wonderful idea...and Harper eventually agrees after his latest book is trashed and he loses his position at NYU. His agent suggests that Harper write a biography of Lance, especially now that Lance is preparing to retire - a sure money grabbing deal. Harper wonders if he can convince Lance of his good intentions in wanting to write the biography, but is none too sure.
Also attending the get-together is Julian Murch (Harold Perrineau) and his wife Candace Sparks (Regina Hall). The two run a school for gifted children and the demand for funding is extraordinary...especially when a big donor backs out thanks to a YouTube video showing former stripper Candace in action at a frat party. Of course, the video surfaces just before the party. Successful brand manager and self-proclaimed ladies' man Quentin Spivey (Terrence Howard) loves the video. As does Julian's ex-wife, now Real Housewives television star Shelby Taylor (Melissa De Sousa). Mia's best friend Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long) knows nothing about the video, but she has her hands full with her own issues. Jordan is a driven business executive at a prominent television station and barely has time to commit to a real love life, much to the chagrin of boyfriend Brian McDonald (Eddie Cibrian).
As the get-together begins, things are tense between some of the party-goers, but after a while, the crew loosens up and it's like old times again. This is just what Mia was hoping for when she asked for her friends and their respective families to join the Sullivans at their home for Christmas. She wanted things to be the way they were with friends who will do anything for one another gathered around at this special holiday where peace and love are celebrated. For Mia has a secret, one that threatens to hurt all those she holds dear, and she needs her support group to help her through...if she could just find a way to tell them...
Oh man, when I saw The Best Man Holiday promos I never knew what kind of film this was going to be. All I saw were funny moments. Sure, I knew there was bound to be some drama thanks to having seen the original film. But nothing and no one ever prepared me for the dramatic moments The Best Man Holiday had to offer - real tear-jerker moments that I really should have known would take place after seeing the first few scenes of the film. There were clues that I would need some Kleenex, and yet, I was thoroughly unprepared when Mia made her big reveal.
That's not to say that this movie is a sob-fest. There are some really hysterical moments in this film, both in the dialogue and in the actions performed by a cast with so much on screen chemistry that it's hard to believe these folks may not be such close friends in real life. The comedy is fun and the drama is incredibly touching. Even the ending, though predictable and bound to bring a tear to your eye, was uplifting and enjoyable.
One doesn't get to say this often, but I believe that The Best Man Holiday may be better than the original film. The Best Man was comedy with a serious message, but The Best Man Holiday was a film that contained moments of extreme laughter, moments of intensely touching drama and a beautiful message of love, forgiveness and hope. The Best Man Holiday was a tremendous viewing experience that I recommend for anyone who can take time out from this busy holiday season to learn just what friends, family and the holidays are really supposed to be about.