The Best Man Holiday Review
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In 1999, audiences fell in love with The Best Man, a romantic comedy about friendship, love, and betrayal. Normally, that would inspire the studio to fast track a sequel. But it took writer/director Malcolm D. Lee and his cast 14 long years to return with the follow-up, The Best Man Holiday.

The holiday-themed sequel finds a group of old friends reuniting for the holidays at the posh home of football star Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut) and his wife, Mia (Monica Calhoun). Each of the friends brings some emotional baggage to their holiday get-together. Julian (Harold Perrineau) has lost funding for his school because of his wife’s questionable past. Jordan (Nia Long) is a high-powered executive who can’t seem to commit to her boyfriend, Brian (Eddie Cibrian). And best-selling author Harper (Taye Diggs) has a baby on the way and a book that won’t sell. But the rivalries and old hurts become less important when they discover that one of their friends is hurting.

I think it’s safe to say that Lee hasn’t spent the last 14 years trying to come up with the most plausible story for The Best Man Holiday, since it asks audiences to overlook a whole lot of plot holes—starting with the basic premise. After all, how many of us would willingly leave our lives (and our jobs) behind for several days during the holidays to have a big, grown-up slumber party with a bunch of people who harbor some kind of long-held feelings of animosity toward us? There are bitter rivalries and age-old hurts here, yet it’s supposed to feel perfectly normal that everyone would eagerly gather with jealous old girlfriends and resentful old friends for a week of pajama nights and black-tie dinners and flawlessly choreographed lip sync numbers (performed, of course, in matching costumes that were seemingly just lying around the house).

For a while, though, it’s all in good fun—in a random, silly kind of way. Despite the understandable (but often uncomfortable) moments of awkwardness, the characters still manage to let loose, changing into their comfiest jammies to gossip and dish about their various conquests (and also, strangely enough, preach about their faith). Most of the characters are generally lovable, and Terrence Howard brings even more comic relief as the outspoken, joint-smoking confirmed bachelor of the group.

Then, however, everything changes—and a big revelation turns an otherwise light-hearted comedy into a heavy, tear-jerking drama. The woman seated next to me went from howling and stomping her feet to openly weeping. And that sudden change in tone is pretty jarring—even if you’ll see the revelation coming from a mile away.

While its heart generally seems to be in the right place, The Best Man Holiday is a strangely jagged jumble of contradictions. It’s not sure whether it wants to be a crude, crazy comedy or a heavy religious drama. And although it has some entertaining moments, the unlikely set-up and uneven tone make it feel about as natural as a week-long getaway with eight of your closest frienemies.

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