“The Best Man Holiday” isn’t groundbreaking, but it is a lot of fun.
The sequel to the moderately successful 1999 film “The Best Man” reunites a talented cast that works well together. If you were a fan of that film (like I was), this is like revisiting old friends. Even if you are unfamiliar with the original, this is still an entertaining ensemble piece.
“The Best Man Holiday” picks up 15 years after the original, with the group of college friends getting together to celebrate Christmas.
The friends include Lance (Morris Chestnut), a running back for the NFL’s New York Giants, and wife Mia (Monica Calhoun); Harper (Taye Diggs) and wife Robyn (Sanaa Lathan), who are expecting their first child; and Julian (Harold Perrineau) and wife Candace (Regina Hall).
The career-driven Jordan (Nia Long); Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), a reality show star; and Quentin (Terrance Howard) round out the group.
The reunion rekindles some rivalries and exposes old wounds, as well as creates new problems and situations.
“The Best Man Holiday” has a lot of warts. Some might see it getting a little too melodramatic in the second half, and sometimes it feels like conflicts fall into those movie moments where a conversation could have prevented the entire ordeal.
The big game build is also rather cliché and perhaps one of the most unrealistic football games in recent cinema.
Even with the faults, “The Best Man Holiday” works – largely because of its cast. The actors feel at home with these characters. They are having fun, and that fun is transferred to the audience.
Everyone is very good, with Howard probably drawing the most attention as the film’s comic relief.
Another positive is the way the film uses faith without feeling like it’s on a soapbox (something that Tyler Perry could do a little more in his films).
The message of faith and friendship with a holiday theme makes “The Best Man Holiday” a nice entry into the Christmas movie cycle – albeit with an R rating for the film that is only for the adults and not entirely family friendly.
Here’s hoping it’s not another 15 years before we get a chance to peak in on these character’s lives again.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “The World’s End” (B+) – the latest from the team behind “Shaun of the “Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.”
Directed by Edgar Wright, who also serves as a co-writer with star Simon Pegg, this is very smart with a lot of laughs. It’s the most consistently funny comedy since “Ted.”
Pegg plays Gary, a 40-year-old man still trying to relive the glory days of his youth. Gary convinces his four friends (Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Eddie Marsan and Martin Freeman) to join him on a quest that the group didn’t finish 20 years earlier – a one-night binge through 12 hometown pubs.
The drunken binge becomes more than just an awkward reunion when the friends discover that their hometown has been taken over by robot aliens intent on taking over the world.
“World’s End” plays better than the previous two films, with a script that’s borderline brilliant in the way it pieces together raunchy comedy with the disaster genre.
It takes what “This Is the End” did this summer and raises it to another level, with some laugh-out-loud throwaway lines as well as some very clever visual gags.
The cast is perfect, with actors like Marsan – better known for his dramatic work – showing some keen comedic flair.
Pegg holds it all together, going all-in as the man-child who may be mankind’s last hope for survival. It’s a take-no-prisoners kind of performance that may turn off some, but I found to be quite entertaining – much like the rest of the film, which should please fans of “Shaun” and “Fuzz,” as well as win over those who might not be familiar with the previous films.
It’s a film that deserves a second chance on DVD.
“The World’s End” is rated R for pervasive language including sexual references and is now available on DVD.
— To get sportswriter/movie reviewer Micheal Compton’s thoughts on all things movies, visit his blog at mcompton.wordpress.com or his Twitter page at twitter.com/mcompton428. Email him at email@example.com.
‘THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY’
- Starring: Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs
- Director: Malcolm D. Lee
- Rating: R for language, sexual content and brief nudity
- Playing at: Regal Greenwood Mall Stadium 10
- Micheal’s rating: B