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Review: The Best Man Holiday


Fourteen years since we last saw them, the gang from The Best Man Holiday are reunited for one very special Christmas. Harper, a bestselling author whose most recent book flopped, is now married to a pregnant Robin. Lance, an NFL player nearing retirement, is still married to Mia, the two have a family. Julian has married ex-stripper Candace, but cannot escape his ex-girlfriend Shelby. Jordan, a successful journalist is dating Brian, who is white. And finally, Quentin is the same player he was fourteen years ago.

The entire cast of the first film reprise their roles. A now bald, but always likeable Taye Diggs is Harper Stewart, his wife Robin played by Sanaa Lathan. Morris Chestnut has still got it as Lance Sullivan, the tough-as-nails football star who loves nothing more than God, family, and football. Harold Perrineau unfortunately loses his Predator like dreadlocks from the first film as Julian. The rest of the cast is filled out by Nia Long (Jordan), Monica Calhoun (Mia), Regina Hall (Candace), a guitar playing Terrence Howard (Quentin), Melissa De Sousa (Shelby), and newcomer Eddie Cibrian (Brian).

The Best Man Holiday gets off to a great start, opening with a montage mixing footage from the first film (including the notoriously long dance sequence that seemed to last forever), as well as new footage to bring us up to date on what the characters from everyone’s favourite black ensemble comedy have been up to for the last fourteen years.

It’s rather tough to evaluate The Best Man Holiday as one film, as its two halves are so drastically different. The first half plays as the dramedy that we expect from writer-director Malcolm D. Lee: well developed, mature, characters trying to overcome adult issues. The second half on the other end turns from a feel-good Christmas movie to an over-the-top melodrama that is so ridiculous that at times it almost becomes unintentionally hilarious.

One is forced to wonder if Malcolm D. Lee knew of the ridiculous disaster he crafts in the second half, when even the characters in the film acknowledge it. You’ll certainly get a chuckle when Quentin says “That was some melodramatic shit.” But then again, we can’t be completely surprised. I mean, the first film did have Morris Chestnut’s Lance about to throw Harper off a balcony.

The film really doesn’t know what it wants to be in the second half. Is it a comedy? Drama? Sports movie?

When considering The Best Man Holiday, one must remember its strong first half. There is great entertainment in watching Harper inconspicuously try and squeeze details out of Lance for his planned biography. As is it quite hilarious seeing Quentin’s reaction to a video of Julian’s wife possibly taking money for sex, and his and Julian’s attempt to hide the video for the rest of the group.

Ultimately, The Best Man Holiday is a very funny and entertaining film. It is quite a treat to catch up with the beloved characters from the first film.

But that damn second half…

Should You See It?
If you loved the first film, then most definitely. It may have its issues, but its still great to catch up with the characters. Haven’t seen the original? Then you may not get as much enjoyment from Holiday as those who have.

[star v=3]

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.