The Best Man Holiday is a chick flick wrapped in a male-bonding movie. It’s a drama. A comedy. A romantic drama. A romantic comedy. A sports movie. A reunion movie. A tear-jerker. Think Beaches meets The Big Chill. I know – that’s a lot to process. But the bottom line is, I rather liked this movie. It’s a pleasant diversion from the special-effects laden blockbusters and awards-season downers, and it deserves a bit of mainstream love, crossing over gender and racial boundaries.
The Best Man Holiday is a follow-up, 15 years on, to The Best Man (a movie I did not see). A lengthy opening sequence does an okay job getting new and old viewers up to speed, then the present-day plot starts to unfold: A group of old college friends reunite over the Christmas holiday at the New Jersey mansion of football star Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut), his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) and their four kids. Old rivalries, romances and personality conflicts soon emerge in a variety of funny, raunchy and poignant ways.
The large but engaging (and attractive) cast includes Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, Melissa De Sousa, Sanaa Lathan and Terrence Howard, who provides the bulk of the comic relief throughout the movie.
The Best Man Holiday gets a bit sappy and predictable, and the end goes on way too long. But overall, it’s good for a laugh – and a cry.