“The Best Man Holiday” picks up where the original film left off in 1999. With the original cast intact, the film is set 15 years later. Focused around the reunion of the nine college friends for Christmas, it’s clear the dynamics have changed drastically between everyone since Lance (Morris Chestnut, “Kick-Ass 2”) and Mia’s (Monica Calhoun, “Diary of a Single Mom”) wedding. Needless to say, there’s plenty of “unfinished business,” and there will always be struggles along the road to success.
“The Best Man Holiday” is heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time. Director Malcolm D. Lee (“Soul Men”) sets out to create an emotionally gripping story to tie the films together. Mark my words— tears will be shed. For every scene that turns on the waterworks, the script is full of comical moments to uplift you from the sadness. From beginning to end, Quentin (Terrence Howard, “Red Tails”) will have everyone laughing out loud.
At times, the plot has a tendency to get carried away with itself. Introducing one piece of drama into the plot is enough, but aiming for all of the bullets without a moment to process it all is overkill. (Oh, and the lip syncing could have used some more work.)
The release of this sequel could not have been at a better time though. “The Best Man Holiday” will attract audiences of all ages including the parents who watched “The Best Man” during their young and single days, to their children who are well in their late teens if not early twenties.
There are aspects of the film that are relatable to everyone. Young college girls will admire Jordan (Nia Long, “House of Lies”) and her commitment to her career while their older sisters will sympathize for Robyn (Sanaa Lathan, “The Cleveland Show”) as she struggles to have her baby. Mothers will praise Mia for the strength she gives her family. Of course, everyone will laugh as Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) emulates the lifestyle of the “Real Housewives,” that pop culture we are all guilty of indulging in.
While this dramedy could be classified as a film for the family, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend children accompanying their parents when it’s out in theaters. “The Best Man Holiday” should not to be mistaken as a chick flick— boys can make this screening a rowdy viewing party too. The language is vulgar as Harper (Taye Diggs, “Private Practice”) and Lance hash out their rivalry, and Julian (Harold Perrineau “Lost”) deals with his wife (Regina Hall, “Law Abiding Citizen”) and his ex under the same roof. Loyalty, faith and love are the core elements that keep this intrinsic brotherhood alive.
Viewers can do without seeing “The Best Man” before watching the follow-up, but the context makes more sense if the original has been watched. For those who have followed this franchise since 1999, the sequel will have been worth the wait, but the outcome of it all might not leave fans completely satisfied.
Not to worry though, “The Best Man Holiday” is full of surprises and will spread cheer as it instills the holiday spirit in all of us this season.