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Sunday, November 17, 2013

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY REVIEW


About The Movie:

Lance is retiring from the game soon, and Harper sees the chance to cash-in on a biography of the all-star player. However, first he’ll have to stitch the rift between himself and Lance over the infamous affair with Lance’s wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) – not to mention deal with all the drama that comes with having old friends like Julian (Harold Perrineau), Candy (Regina Hall), Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), Jordan (Nia Long) – and of course, acid-tongued Quentin (Terrence Howard) all under one roof again. While both old wounds and new pains threaten the group’s bond, they soon learn that there’s no better time than the holidays in which to celebrate life, love, and good friendship.

A well-edited montage catches us up on everyone’s progress since last we left them. Author Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) published his autobiographical novel “Unfinished Business” and rode a wave of support … but hasn’t written anything close to that book’s success, and is panicking because he and Robin (Sanaa Lathan) have their first child on the way. After getting dumped by Murch (Harold Perrineau), the sassy and outspoken Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) has established herself as a pop-culture diva on a “Real Housewives” program. Jordan (Nia Long) has climbed the ranks at MSNBC … and found herself a handsome, white boyfriend (Eddie Cibrian). As for Quentin (Terrence Howard), he’s still living the single-man’s dream, though personal changes might be on his horizon. 

What Is Good/Bad About The Movie:

Large ensemble comedies usually need time to establish chemistry. The Best Man cast can (and does) hit the ground running. There’s a familiarity of friendship and camaraderie between actors, giving solid foundation to the complicated relationship conversations, the raw sex talk, and the tender proclamations of commitment and love that bind the Best Man script.

In 1999, Malcolm D. Lee brought something truly unique to cinema screens: a story about well-educated and successful young African-Americans that used the art of writing and storytelling as a clever cinematic device for an insightful exploration of the truths and lies that often co-exists within a tight-knit group of longtime friends. While this long-time-coming sequel isn’t as fresh (this is a post-Tyler Perry world we live in, after all) or inventive as its predecessor, it compensates for its more streamlined and sitcom-ish storyline with a bold mix of crude adult humor and weighty emotional drama that elevates it above both the standard dramedy fare and similar “where are they now?” sequels.

Diggs is once again a solid protagonist and focal point for the story; Chestnut gives one of his more nuanced and powerful performances in awhile; Calhoun is given the heaviest lifting and handles her arc with a graceful gravitas; and Terrence Howard once again steals every scene he can get his hands on as the rambunctious “Q,” thankfully keeping things light even when they are at their heaviest or most melodramatic.

There was a sequence, a choreographed dance routine set to New Edition’s “Can You Stand the Rain,” where the crowd appeared to be having as much fun as the actors. Those moments are rare, and when they happen, you recognize the value of a credible connection between a movie and its viewer.

The real star of the film, visually speaking, are the lavish settings we find ourselves in for most of the film. The Best Man opened Hollywood up to a seldom-explored world of upwardly-mobile African-Americas, and in this film those characters live in a world of downright opulence, which Lee manages to infuse with a familial warmth that helps to bypass any distracting socio-economic notions or hangups. In short: though most of the film takes place in what looks like a veritable fairytale palace, it never feels like anything less than an intimate and natural home setting.

The last 15 minutes of The Best Man Holiday deliver, without question, the craziest sequence of events I've ever seen unfold on screen … maybe ever. Out of context, we witness, in order: 1) An NFL player breaking the league’s single-season rushing record during a Christmas Day game; 2) The death and burial of a significant character; 3) A passionate hook-up at the post-funeral family gathering; 4) A pregnant character’s water breaking, leading to an awkward child birth in the back of a speeding Escalade; 5) And finally, a marriage proposal, setting up what’s sure to be the third chapter in this expanding franchise. 

In the end, The Best Man Holiday is a worthwhile revisiting that manages to push its characters forward in a very mature and emotionally honest way. Best of all, by the time it’s all done, we’re left with the feeling that another visit with this unique group of friends would be welcome… even if we have to wait another decade and a half to get it.

Overall Grade: B+

6 comments:

  1. just to say you happy Sunday wuith my last post:

    http://menforxersex.blogspot.it/2013/11/tyson-ballou-by-maurice-pegasi-1.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. This remains a genre that's appeal escapes me. It's all too well-dressed, too-pretty, too-well lit for my taste. I like reality. And it's hard to work up any sympathy for any of these characters as they waltz about in the sheen of their homogenized A-List lives. Their problems? NOT problems. More like character flaws or a matter of poor judgement. That said, the dialogue typically zings about with all the sassy fun of a well-written sitcom and yes, I will admit, all those bleached teeth are dazzling to gaze upon. Having the men take off their shirts or shake their booties also helps keep my interest. But in the end - it's all frosting and no cake. And dammit - I wants me some cake! - Uptonking from Wonderland Burlesque

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ouch, I take it that you didn't like the movie

      Delete

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