While we’re living in a world filled with remakes and sequels, The Best Man Holiday manages to stand far apart from its original 1999 debut, and be much different and better than the dry sequels we’ve been bombarded with as of late.
The follow-up brings college friends Harper (Taye Diggs), Lance (Morris Chestnut), Jordan (Nia Long) and the rest of the gang back together to Lance and Mia’s (Monica Calhoun) lavish New Jersey mansion for the holidays. In the midst of all that, Lance, a New York Giant, is preparing to play his final game in the NFL and wants to go out with a bang (And can we talk about how fine Morris Chestnut still is after all these years!? He reportedly dropped 30 pounds for the role).
As promised, there’s drama when Harper comes into town with motives to write a book about Lance’s life, without him knowing of course. And you get to see through his character that everything that glitters isn’t gold after Harper’s follow-up to the book that rocked his friendship with Lance doesn’t sell well, and it leaves Harper and Roybn in a financial mess. While each character goes through some intense soul-searching, and deal with sex scandals, reality TV drama, financial issues and more, the friendship between all of them is heartwarming and realistic, giving the audience some positive people that they can relate to–once again.
Harper and his wife Robyn (a radiant Sanaa Lathan) are expecting, but it doesn’t stop Robyn from cutting her eyes and getting a little jealous when Jordan is around. The love triangle shtick is a little overused, but there’s other issues that will grab your attention, especially one that has everyone in tears by the end of the film.
With time, the gang’s chemistry has gotten stronger, especially the dynamic between Candace (Regina Hall), Mia, and Jordan. Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) is the odd-woman out due to her antics, but still manages to play the villain in a comical yet charming way. The audience ends up feeling bad for the now reality-star when she shuns her child to try and seduce her way back into Julian’s life (there is a cat fight, and yes it is everything.)
Quentin (Terrence Howard) conveniently provides comic relief right when things get a little heavy, especially when Candace’s “Candy” days come back to hurt a business deal with Julian’s non-profit organization. It’s awkward to see Q ‘sexting’ and some of the other new age references that weren’t present back in the day (Shelby was supposed to be a contestant on Flavor Of Love All Stars, Harper writes on his iPad, and more), but one thing that remains intact from the last movie is that the friendship between the old pals is as dramatic but strong as always.
Director and writer Malcolm D. Lee creates another classic story of brother and sisterhood, faith and friendship that reminds us why we missed the gang, and it’s definitely worth the 14-year wait. It moves a little fast, but with perfect use of slapstick jokes and cute romantic moments, it’s an awesome feel-good (and make you appreciate your friends) comedy just in time for the holidays.