The Best Man Holiday (15)

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Malcolm D. Lee

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/11/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 122 mins

Entertaining sequel enlivened by strong performances from a likeable cast, though it lays on the sentimentality a little too thick and there's a surprising amount of swearing for a film that's purporting to be a family movie.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee, the awkwardly titled The Best Man Holiday is not, in fact, a Hangover-style film about a group of best men going on holiday, but a sequel to Lee's 1999 hit The Best Man, set during the Christmas holiday. In the fourteen years since the previous film, most of the original group of nine friends have experienced various degrees of life-changing success: Lance (Morris Chestnut) is now a professional football player on the brink of retirement, Jordan (Nia Long) is a successful television producer with a white boyfriend (Eddie Cibrian), Shelby (Melissa De Sousa) is the star of a trashy Real Housewives style reality TV show and Quentin (Terrence Howard) is a wealthy marketing consultant who's still enjoying the bachelor life.

However, things aren't going so well for some of the others: Harper (Taye Diggs) is struggling with his second novel and expecting a baby with his wife Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) after a series of miscarriages and Murch (Harold Perrineau) has the funding for his charter school withdrawn after a risque video of his wife Candy (Regina Hall) from her college days surfaces on YouTube. However, when Lance and his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) invite everyone to their mansion for a reunion over the Christmas holidays, various tensions bubble to the surface, testing marriages and friendships alike.

The Good
It isn't necessary to have seen The Best Man to enjoy The Best Man Holiday, as the sequel helpfully recaps the salient points from the original film (including why Lance and Harper have fallen out) during the opening credits. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the film is that Lee has managed to reunite the entire cast, and the performances are excellent across the board, with Howard the stand-out as sleazy, wise-cracking Quentin.

The script does have a few misfires (Murch's storyline fails to convince), but the various tensions between the characters are nicely balanced and there are a number of guiltily enjoyable sequences, such as a catfight between Hall and De Sousa's characters.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it's completely drenched in mawkish sentimentality, with lots of anguished hand-wringing over problems that don't seem all that big. On top of that, the film ought to win some sort of award for cramming in as many clichéd endings as possible into its final act – there are births, deaths, marriages and even a climactic football game, all in the last twenty minutes. In addition, there's a surprising amount of swearing for what is supposed to be a family film, to the point where it feels gratuitous and distracting.

Worth seeing?
Despite its flaws, The Best Man Holiday remains an engaging and superbly acted sequel that won't disappoint fans of the first film.

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Content updated: 22/09/2018 20:35

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