'Holiday' revives feelings from years ago
By Roger Moore
Published: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, 6:06 p.m.
“The Best Man Holiday” is a most welcome sequel to the 1999 sleeper hit, “The Best Man,” about a tight-knit circle of black friends who gathered then for a wedding, now to spend Christmas together.
Yes, it's occasionally maudlin and melodramatic, and it's entirely too long. But it's also heartfelt and often downright hilarious, and shows just how canny Malcolm D. Lee's casting was all those years ago.
Everybody seems successful, with careers, families and high-end cars.
But when Mia (Monica Calhoun) and her star running-back husband Lance (Morris Chestnut) invite everybody to their suburban New Jersey mansion for the holidays, cracks show in everyone's facade.
Novelist Harper (Taye Diggs) is a long time between bestsellers and worries about money as he and Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) prepare to have a baby.
Candace (Regina Hall) and Julian (a twitchy Harold Perrineau) run an up-and-coming private school, but there are funding problems.
Jordan (Nia Long) may be a top exec at MSNBC, but she's embarrassed to be embarrassed by having a white beau (Eddie Cibrian).
Marketing consultant and sometime-music producer Quentin (Terrence Howard) is still partying and smoking pot like it was 1999.
And floozy Shelby (vampy Melissa De Sousa) may be the villain on “Housewives of Westchester.” But she is between marriages and failing as a mom as she manages her fame.
A flashback reminds us of the bonhomie they shared back then. And this cast of seasoned pros slips easily into playing characters who can't help but fall back into their old roles within the group.
Once we get past the clichés and compliments, the fur flies and things get a bit too real.
Lance and Harper have unresolved issues, which Harper needs to sneak around and fix if he's to get Lance to agree to letting him ghost-write the jock's autobiography.
Julian has to figure out a way to raise money despite the fact that his wife's ancient sexual history is now a YouTube phenomenon.
Everybody's got a secret, every player has a role in the play, with Howard as the funniest he has ever been, doing a sort of sassy, stoned comic relief.
The cute stuff — the men do a lip-sync “talent show” as New Edition — is balanced against the raw language and the downers that come in the serious-and-sad second half of the film. But it's still an amusing, well-acted and sharply-timed holiday comedy — old friends getting together to prove that careers, families and kids aside, they've still got their R-rated edge, just as they did in college.
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Latest Russell Crowe movie is filming around Pittsburgh
- Pittsburgh hotels cater to movie stars and crews
- ‘Transcendence’ stuck in tropes
- Get up close and personal with cute ‘Bears’
- ‘Haunted House 2’ is too much of a bad thing
- Jude Law struts his dark side in ‘Dom’
- ‘Skin’ has a lot going on underneath
- ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ a delightful, offbeat universe
- Shady Side Academy teens nab photo with Crowe