Christmas Spirit Fights Coarse Dialogue in Best Man Holiday
- Friday, November 15, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: November 15, 2013
Rating: R for language, sexual content and brief nudity
Run Time: 115 min.
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Cast: Taye Diggs, Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Latham, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Eddie Cibrian
Oh, it's definitely gonna to be a "blue" Christmas this year—just not in the way you might think.
Best Man Holiday, the follow-up to 1999’s Best Man (both written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee), is a well-performed, polished mainstream comedy. Which would be great if mainstream was what it used to be. These days, the language in today’s comedies—and pretty much every other genre, especially when the film carries an “R” rating—stands out most of all. Casual profanity, lots of discussion of intimate behavior, and angrily hurled epithets are par for the course.
It’s enough to ruin movies that otherwise have much to commend. That’s the case with Best Man Holiday, a formulaic but nicely executed multi-character comedy about longtime friends facing various life crises. Faith plays a starring role in the story and dialogue, but much of the film’s language is so off-putting that believers will have a hard time sitting through the film.
It's been almost 15 years since professional football player Lance (Morris Chestnut, The Call) married Mia (Monica Calhoun), and best man Harper (Taye Diggs, Baggage Claim) had a falling out with the groom. Mia has called Harper, now a well-known novelist, and his pregnant wife (Sanaa Latham) to her home to celebrate Christmas, along with other friends who were there for Mia's nuptials years earlier. There's fundraiser Julian (Harold Perrineau) and wife Candace (Regina Hall, Death at a Funeral), a former stripper; laid-back Quentin (Terrence Howard, Iron Man); high-powered producer Jordan (Nia Long, Are We Done Yet?) and her white boyfriend (Eddie Cibrian, Good Deeds); and TV star Shelby (Melissa de Souza). They've all tasted success, although Harper hasn't been able to write anything to match the success of his early best-seller. He needs a new book, and he thinks Lance's life story might be the ticket.
There's just one problem: Lance resents Harper for an earlier indiscretion—one for which Lance has never offered forgiveness. That's one of many hurts that will surface among the characters during their holiday get together.
Mia understands that Lance needs to make things right with Harper. That's part of the reason she calls the old group of friends together. Old wounds will be opened, and some past embarrassments will come to light. And Mia has a secret that will drive the story toward its drawn-out but heart-warming conclusion. Getting to that point will involve several contrived moments that feel stolen from a standard TV sitcom rather than a well-oiled studio film, but Best Man Holiday hums along by keeping its appealing performers front and center, even when the storyline lets them down.
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