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Review: Tearjerker ‘The Best Man Holiday’ is a Satisfying Follow-up To Original

Review: Tearjerker 'The Best Man Holiday' is a Satisfying Follow-up To Original

Malcolm D. Lee’s highly anticipated sequel to The Best Man brings back the talented and gorgeous cast from the hit original 1998 romantic comedy/drama. The film alternates from tearjerker drama to comedy, which has been proven to work as a formula – along with some very familiar crass humor – usually present in this genre of black films, especially Tyler Perry’s. 

However, Lee’s script is a notch above the material of the aforementioned filmmaker; the writing is superior; the scenes are more carefully orchestrated. Across the board, all the actors performed their roles with aplomb, thanks to the well-established dynamics amongst cast members, and direction.

The Best Man Holiday begins providing a glimpse of the characters’ lives, seemingly idyllic, since the first film. Jordan (Nia Long) is now an über successful businesswoman, well-known in the African American community and media; Harper (Taye Diggs) is a best selling author, who is now struggling. There’s our golden couple Lance (Morris Chestnut) and Mia (Monica Calhoun), the backbone of this circle of friends, happily married with children. The latter is the heart of the film, and, the main conflict – once again – involves the traditional and faithful Lance, whose life, including his successful football career, has been “optioned” for Harper’s (Taye Diggs) new book – unbeknownst to Lance himself. 

The characters are back in full form, and they find themselves in some ‘déjà vu’ predicaments: Lance’s contempt towards Harper, who seems to hold back from now pregnant wife Robyn (Sanaa Lathan); Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) hasn’t fully come to terms with the breakup with Julian (Harrold Perrineau), who is trying to overcome Candace’s past as a stripper (and, well, there’s the video); Quentin (Terrence Howard) is still a bachelor and a playboy (providing most of the film’s comic relief); and there’s a lingering “something” between Harper and Jordan (Nia Long), who has a new man in her life (the only non-black character played by Eddie Cibrian), whom she is trying to open up her heart to. 

There are certainly some plot contrivances, along with some dialogue and situational cliché’s. Some of the characters’ storylines were more intriguing than others, but the film effectively tugs at your heartstrings and touches on issues which are relevant to adults of this age-group: marital problems, faith and the lack-thereof, sickness, fertility and money issues, parenting, the legacy of friendship and its rivalries, commitment phobia, among others. Perhaps what is most surprising is how much of a tearjerker it is, seemingly much more so than its predecessor. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when, like in this case, actors of caliber know their characters very well, emoting accordingly and convincingly. 

Overall, it’s a competent and well-acted follow-up to the original. If you loved the first one, you won’t be disappointed with this Holiday reunion.

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Comments

Darkwater

Uhm…the formula for this movie predates Tyler Perry by quite a few years, and I think we do Lee an injustice to say it is Tyler Perry-esque. Maybe Tyler Perry's ensemble movies with a cast of significant others with issues is Malcolm Lee-esque instead.

Darkan

It's amazing how people continue to compare this film to Tyler Perry when the Best Man existed long before anyone heard the name Tyler Perry and is considered an urban classic. SMDH.

CC

A woman with a stripper's past… plot contrivances… faith and the lack-thereof… one non-black character… a bachelor playboy… tearjerker and a grandmother name Madea. Opps, she wasn't among these "beautiful" people. But let's not fool ourselves, if Tyler gave this cast a call they'd beat Spike Lee to his door step.

lilkunta

after 14 yrs shelby isnt over julian ? come on!

Monique a williams

This film doesn't change lives. It doesn't inspire community service. It doesn't offer insight into historical figures and situations. What it DOES do however, is offer a warm, relatable story that is a pleasure to enjoy, performances that resonate. It's a non-Tyler Perry film with beautiful people, with characters who are dynamic, authentic and human, not Black and down on their luck because they're Black. This film is melodramatic without inducing eye rolls, due to the strong performances and genuine rapport of the actors. The Best Man Holiday is a satisfying wrap-up of a story that for many has a special place in our hearts about a time in our lives where we imagined a different trajectory for Black Cinema, and a confidence that it can continue on this path of diverse storytelling.

This isn't a film for everyone. But for those like me, it hits all the notes. And, based on the numbers, there are many more like me than people anticipated…

90056

The movie was average at best…but the hype and marketing was amazing. Congrats to those that oversaturate our consciousness with this product. You win…

kiara

I will wait to see it. On every movie the first weekend all the "fanboys" go, but normal folks like to wait. that's how I got jipped on Tyler perry. The second weekend tells the truth.

PureEGO

The movie was freaking amazing.

scripttease

I'm looking forward to seeing this film with my in-laws. At first I didn't think it was going to do well when they first announced the sequel, but as time progressed, people got hyped. Love Black Folks in film. #January062014

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