With the holiday season quickly approaching, we are bound to see some new Christmas movies hit the big screen and some favorites that always replay on television the closer we get to the holiday. But how many of those movies actually show the true meaning of Christmas? It’s refreshing to find out that The Best Man Holiday is not only a silly comedy about friends reuniting, but also a faith-based film that reminds us what’s important around this joyous time.
Writer/director Malcolm D. Lee returns with all nine veteran actors and manages to create the long-awaited reunion after the 1999 sleeper hit The Best Man was released.
Almost 15 years later, college buddies Lance (Morris Chestnut), Harper (Taye Diggs), Quentin (Terrence Howard) and Julian (Harold Perrineau Jr.) get together for a long holiday weekend at Lance and Mia’s (Monica Calhoun) New Jersey mansion. Harper’s wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan), Julian’s wife Candice (Regina Hall), Mia’s best friend Jordan (Nia Long) and wild-child Shelby (Melissa DeSousa) also tag along.
Even though it’s been over a decade, old rivalries and tensions arise, especially between football-star Lance and struggling writer Harper, and old flames re-ignite within the group of close friends. What was supposed to be a cozy and fun Christmas weekend among friends turns into a dramatic revelation when the group learns that one of them.
In the film’s third act, the plot takes a serious turn and everyone’s faith is tested. What has been an ongoing theme through the film becomes prominent and clear on what message director Lee is telling the audience.
Several critics thought this message was awkward or that it was steered too far from the first film’s light-heartedness, but I have to respectfully disagree. Because of this theme, the sequel sits above its 1999 predecessor and I find it refreshing that this holiday film stresses the importance of both faith and family.
All of the actors are fun to watch on screen (with the exception of slimy Howard), but Chestnut takes the cake with his performance as the family man who is tested by God. His character says frequently throughout the film “That must be God’s will,” which is the unmistakable theme throughout the movie. His performance in the last 20 minutes of the film is gut wrenching and emotional.
The Best Man Holiday is one of those comedies that’s a bit clichéd and cheesy but its also a great mixture of super sweet and intense. Had the movie ended maybe 10 minutes earlier, it would’ve achieved that perfect balance of comedy and drama, but Lee’s ultimate message rings hard and strong regardless of the running time.