Friday, November 22, 2013
Prepare to break out the tissue for this one, because the floodgates of tears will soon follow…
It has been 15 years since The Best Man (1999) debuted on the Hollywood screen, and the reunion could not have been any sweeter. The Best Man Holiday comes at a great time to prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
So just in case you have not seen the first movie or it’s been a little while, here is a quick, updated primer. The whole cast from The Best Man returns and are doing pretty well for themselves in their spective lives and careers. The only new editions are the children and a new flame/significant other. Harper (Taye Diggs) is an author and former teacher at NYU; his wife Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) has gone from being a budding caterer to a full-time Chef; Harper’s best friend Lance (Morris Chestnut) is playing professional football in the NFL and is on the brink of retirement; his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) is a housewife; then there is Jordan (Nia Long) who has moved through the corporate ranks of BET and now works for MSNBC as an executive producer; her new boyfriend Brian (Eddie Cibrian), one of the new additions to the cast, is a top business man who works on Wall Street; then there is Julian aka Murch (Harold Perrineau) who has become one of the leading innovators in education and runs his own school with the assistance of his wife Candace (Regina Hall); and the final two Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) has now become a reality TV star, and Quentin (Terrence Howard) who has added some stability to life now owns a managing firm. Even though time has passed and life changes have taken place there are still some secrets that have remained and others that have surfaced. As the saying goes…“some things just never change”.
The Best Man Holiday is one of those sequels that could have failed tremendously, but it somehow manages to successfully get pas the sophomore curse. Keeping in mind it is rare that a sequel can get a whole cast to return when more than a decade has passed. Truthfully I think, when it comes to original movies and not ones centered off someone who was alive, this definitely makes the list as an excellent film featuring a Black majority cast in a while. One of the highlights of this movie is that it definitely lives up to being a comedy-drama. A large amount of the humor comes from the cast cracking jokes on each other, in some ways a love-hate type vibe, it just seems like it’s a part of their various relationships and friendships.
The film should also be recognized for its non-comedic performances. Keep in mind, if you have not seen the original, there is a lot of already existing drama that has taken place: characters have dated each other, had sex with each other, or liked each other, in the group. As a result of this, there is a lot of existing and lingering chemistry between characters thus their history causes friction. Nevertheless, naturally there seems to be one thing, which brings them together and bond like a family. Unfortunately this one thing may bring on the tears, which might make the viewer a little cheerful for the specific comic relief between Shelby and Quentin. Needless to say, the writing and performances will positively test your sense of empathy.
Now although the film is, overall, beautifully captured, there are a few issues. For example, (without giving any spoilers) Harper and Lance's relationship is somewhat forced and less natural, in comparison to other relationships from characters in the film. And the situation once it is brought to the light, which causes conflict between the two, after is resolved, is certainly sort of obligatory and slightly annoying. Needless to say it does help push the story along. Another issue could be seen in Lance’s character; to a degree he portrays a Tyler Perry-style faith in Christianity, which might be overbearing at times. Even with these minor problems, The Best Man Holiday still does not disappoint. If nothing else the film has definitely kept up with the times as one reporter from The Washington Post said it clearly delivers in that with one plot point “it is able to revolve around social media run amok, off-handedly invoking everyone from the current president Barack Obama to MSNBC star commentator Melissa Harris-Perry, to T.V. sensation Olivia Pope and to ‘Blurred Lines’ singer Robin Thicke"
So, I remind you again, be ready to laugh and cry all in one sitting, because the dramatic moments are so touching it will truly leave an emotional weight on you. Know that you will laugh and cry, and laugh and cry some more. All in all, this film will undeniably make you appreciate life, family, and friends. On a final note, The Best Man Holiday succeeds in presenting new directions and viewpoints for Black actors. It's difficult to find representations of Black Love in pop culture that are not ratchet, oversexed, or overly comedic. Well, The Best Man Holiday provides a refreshing alternative.