bmh_tsr1sheet_rgb_0628_11-e1372699187626

Review: 'The Best Man Holiday' Offers A Thoughtful Reunion, But Is Emotionally Taxing

The 1999 surprise hit, The Best Man, became everything audiences wanted in a film. It launched several of its cast members into the stratosphere, and jumpstarted a flood of equally classic African American rom-coms. But how does the sequel fare almost 15 years later?

Writer-director Malcolm D. Lee has some explaining to do. He knew that audiences couldn't wait to see another installment of his popular Best Man film, and eagerly anticipated that day with baited breath. Sadly, too much time has passed since then and audiences were left wondering whatever happened to that crew of college friends we've grown to love and admire.

When word bubbled that Lee was putting the gang back together, it signaled a revival of sorts, a return to the roots of what made audiences appreciate films like Love & Basketball, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Love Jones. Thankfully, it wasn't all a ruse, and we were treated to a cast dinner, which found Lee's ensemble not only still looking good ("Black don't crack."), but involved cinematically within a year full of great works starring, profiling, and directed by black Hollywood talent. The Best Man Holiday caps off a film schedule full of interesting films such as 42, Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels' The Butler, and 12 Years a Slave. So, this sequel was a welcomed change from the regular "shoot-em-up," drama-filled epics we've come to loathe over time.

For those unfamiliar with the plot, The Best Man Holiday picks up after the events in the original where Harper's (Taye Diggs) first book caused all sorts of drama on the eve of his best friend's wedding. Fast forward a decade plus, and now the characters have all become their own success stories. Lance (Morris Chestnut) and Mia (Monica Calhoun), the couple who almost never were, have seemingly surpassed the original friction and created a wonderful life with a successful marriage, NFL career, and well-behaved children. Jordan (Nia Long), has moved on from her lusting of Harper, and found love in the arms of her new boyfriend named Brian (Eddie Cibrian), who is, well, melanin-deprived. Julian (Harold Perrineau) and Candace (Regina Hall), who met at Lance's bachelor party in the first film, are now happily married with kids. The loudmouths of the group, Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) and Quentin (Terrence Howard) have increased their magnitude for mania by continuing to create trouble for their friends during the Christmas Eve holidays. Lastly, Harper's wife, Robyn (Sanaa Lathan), is finally expecting their first child after years of going to the fertility bank.

All these characters and their successes mask an extra layer, which gets peeled back through Malcolm D. Lee's script. With nearly 15 years having elapsed since the original film, many of the highlights given to the audience as a reminder of what used to be, plays out cluttered and muted. The hijinks that led to creating a whimsical charm in the first movie, return in the sequel, such as the scene where the fly male cast performs an amusing rendition of New Edition's "Can You Stand The Rain". Those happy moments and reminiscent times do little to shadow the light mayhem that stems within the group. Eventually, the picture shies away from the Yuletide spirit to fully immerse itself in melodrama mode, finding everyone in the cast with a little bit of dirt on their shoulders.

But in The Best Man Holiday, it's not the cast who should be the one to blame for seeming to be less fully actualized than before. Lee's script glaringly takes shortcuts, such as in a scene where Julian finds a disturbing video of his wife on YouTube. As a social activist, his character shouldn't really be afraid to confront his significant other about the events he sees, but Lee chooses to go for scandal, which ends up going horribly (and unnecessarily) awry. The instant Lee dives into the sentimentality, he goes way too deep: from the Stepford-esque kids ("too cute and schmaltzy") to the easy-to-telegraph "a-ha" moment that is the big plot reveal — the end result is a lot of groan-induced moans within the theater.

There are moments that even baffle the audience, as we're expected to believe these successful, intelligent, and good-hearted characters have grown from the tensions of the first film, and yet they still descend into an episode of Basketball Wives right in the thick of the film.

For what it's worth, The Best Man Holiday will not be de-constructed by audiences who are looking to nitpick such as this critic is. The comical repartee between the cast hasn't waned over the years, and they all offer some very likable performances despite the ominous plot that looms within the film. The fault of the picture comes from the jam-packed story, which written by Lee, suffers from too many predictable plot points, too many emotionally manipulative moments, and too few clever cinematic moments. Despite the heavy-handed usage of sexuality with religiosity, the ensemble cast — namely Taye Diggs and Monica Calhoun — stand above it all to provide an unbalanced result for fans and audiences.

Almost fifteen years ago, The Best Man exemplified the growing trend within Hollywood that had taken root within moviegoers' consciousness. Now, The Best Man Holiday showcases that regal fineness, that charisma in a film that finds Lee with so much to say about God, faith, fame, and family. The result can be thoughtful and heartwarming, but also quite frustrating and disappointing.

It might not be the holiday gift worth giving this Christmas season.

Don't believe us?! Take a look at the trailer below:

Universal's The Best Man Holiday is rated R with a run time of 122 minutes. It is currently in theaters now.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Jaleel White To Reprise His Role As Steve Urkel In New 'Scooby-Doo'

Steve Urkel is making a comeback!

Jaleel White has reportedly signed on to reprise his role as Steve Urkel, nearly 20 years after Family Matters went off the air. Only, Urkel will not return to the series reboot, but to a forthcoming Scooby-Doo series.

Television's favorite nerd will reportedly be a nosy neighbor to Scooby and the gang.  "Walked in that booth after 20 years and voiced him like it was nuthin," White wrote on Instagram. "To be on screen with Scoob and Shaggy solving a mystery is #Bucketlist stuff 🙏🏽 Enjoy!"

White will serve as one of many guests to lend their voice to the animated series. The series will also include appearances from Kenan Thompson, Wanda Sykes, Halsey, Sia, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Chris Paul, and Mark Hamill.

You can catch Urkel and Mystery Inc. on Boomerang on June 27. In the meantime, check out the trailer above.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

WAiT! ZOOM IN 😳 Scooby and Who?!? Yup. Walked in that booth after 20 years and voiced him like it was nuthin #SteveUrkel #UrkelBot @boomerangtoons Premieres June 27 ~ Hanna Barbera once gifted me an animation cell I have til this day. To be ON screen with Scoob And Shaggy solving a mystery is #Bucketlist stuff 🙏🏽 Enjoy! And my daughter STILL thinks she cooler than me 😎🤨

A post shared by Jaleel White (@jaleelwhite) on Jun 21, 2019 at 10:36am PDT

Continue Reading
Getty

Samuel L. Jackson To Portray George Clinton In Forthcoming Biopic

Samuel L. Jackson is set to portray George Clinton in a forthcoming biopic on record executive Neil Bogart, Deadline reports. The film, Spinning Gold, will feature music from an array of artists on Bogart’s Casablanca Records imprint including The Isley Brothers, KISS, Parliament, Bill Withers, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield.

The upcoming production also features Kenan Thompson as Barry Gordy, while his former Saturday Night Live cast member, Jay Pharaoh, plays WBLS radio DJ Frankie Crocker. Jason Derulo portrays Ron Isley, D.L. Hugely signed on to play Bootsy Collins, and Jazmine Sullivan will take on the role of Knight. Steven Strait and Sam Harris, frontman of the rock band X Ambassador, plays KISS leaders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The band's co-manager, Bill Aucoin, will be played by Neil Patrick Harris.

Bogart, who was born in Manhattan and raised in Brooklyn, began his career as a singer in the 1960s before becoming a record executive at Cameo-Parkway Records and Buddha Records. Bogart founded Casablanca Records in 1973 and singed KISS to the imprint that same year. He became known for promoting funk and disco artists like Donna Summer, the Village People, and Clinton’s Parliament, whom he signed to the label in 1974.

Bogart died at age 39 from cancer and lymphoma.

Production on Spinning Gold, which is written and directed by Bogart’s son, Timothy Scott Bogart, will begin in Montreal on July 16.

Continue Reading
Cindy Ord

50 Cent Says 'Power' Will Not End After Season 6: "I Changed My Mind"

Fans were shook after Starz announced that its popular series, Power, would end after its sixth season.  Nearly two months after the initial announcement, however, 50 Cent suggested the hit series is far from over. In fact, in a post on Instagram on Tuesday (June 25), Fif said more seasons are on the way.

"I Changed my mind. POWER is not going to be over after season 6," 50 captioned a post of himself. "This sh*t is too good."

Although 50 as acted as an executive producer on the series, his statement likely comes as a shock to the cast as well as its co-creator, Courtney A. Kemp.  Carmi Zlotnik, Starz's president of programming, also released a statement in May 2019, confirming the show's end.

"Season 6 brings us to the end of what we know is just the first chapter of the 'Power' story. However, as one chapter comes to an end, another will begin," Zlotnik said in a statement. "Courtney Kemp and 50 Cent have created a world rich with complex and dynamic characters and there are a number of stories we plan to tell as we continue to explore and expand the 'Power' universe."

All things considered, this is probably just another one of 50 Cent's trolling stunts. Nonetheless, it doesn't hurt to dream.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I Changed my mind POWER is not going to be over after season 6. This shit is to good 🤦‍♂️#lecheminduroi #bransoncognac #starzplay

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Jun 25, 2019 at 3:44am PDT

Continue Reading

Top Stories