Movie Review: The Best Man Holiday

By Stephen Rebello

<p>14 years after <i>The Best Man</i>, the Christmas-themed sequel brings an irresistible charm and chemistry.<br></p>

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Rating: R

Studio: Blackmaled Productions

Stars: Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa

Never saw or have since forgotten the 14-year-old wedding comedy hit The Best Man? Not to worry, because the montage sequence for the enjoyably salty, sentimental and sometimes preachy Christmas holiday–themed, awkwardly titled sequel The Best Man Holiday brings us up to speed on just what this pack of close friends has been up to all these years later.

The whole charismatic gang from the first flick is back—Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Morris Chestnut, Monica Calhoun, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, Melissa De Sousa and Terrence Howard among them—and writer-director Malcolm D. Lee contrives to have them all spend the holidays at the showy estate of star running back Chestnut and his too-thin, often-coughing wife Calhoun. Uh-oh, looks like holiday heartbreak dead ahead, right? Well, at least not before a few of them have a score to settle, a bed to warm, a personal challenge to overcome, a jaw-dropping sexist point to make and a lip-synch musical number to do. The plot leaves no deck unstacked. Novelist Diggs’ new book has bombed, money’s tight and he’s been dumped by NYU just as he and wife Lathan are expecting a baby after several miscarriages. Meanwhile, there’s still a romantic spark between Diggs and MSNBC producer career woman Nia Long, who’s not sure she wants to open her heart to her practically perfect, but very white, beau (Eddie Cibrian); Long’s commitment phobia isn’t much helped by her ringside view of the sniping between married, private charter school owners Perrineau and Hall. Then there’s Howard, giving a scene-stealing barnburner of a performance as a skirt-chasing stoner marketing consultant who just may tangle with hot-to-trot reality TV star and troublemaker De Sousa. But, look, plot, characters and logic are almost incidental in this Tyler Perryesque crowd-pleaser with its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink endless shots of sparkly Christmas lights, a funeral, a birth, a crucial NFL game and a whole lot of prayerful speechifying weirdly shoved in alongside the raunch.

But it’s talent, looks, charm and infectious, pretty much irresistible chemistry of the cast that make it all work so smoothly. Really, how can a Best Man Thanksgiving or Best Man Valentine’s Day not be on the drawing board already?


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