MRR Review: "The Best Man Holiday"

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When college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they will discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited.
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MRR Review: "The Best Man Holiday"

Rating: R (language, brief nudity and sexual content)
Length: 120 minutes
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Directed by: Malcolm D. Lee
Genre: Comedy

"The Best Man Holiday" is the long-awaited sequel to "The Best Man," a 1999 romantic comedy with some drama mixed in to make things more interesting. Director Malcolm D. Lee intended on creating a sequel a long time ago, but time constraints always got in the way. He also states that he didn't want to get stuck making the same thing over and over again, so he wanted to branch out before tackling the sequel. Since directing "The Best Man," which was his first major film, Malcolm D. Lee has directed plenty of other movies, including "Roll Bounce," "Undercover Brother," "Soul Men," "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins," and more recently, the fifth film in the "Scary Movie" series. Using all the experience he's gained from working on these other comedies, Malcolm D. Lee has brought "The Best Man" back with a bang, much to the delight of all the fans of the original movie.

In "The Best Man Holiday," the cast is reunited to reprise the roles they held in "The Best Man." Taye Diggs, best known for his long run in the popular Broadway musical "Rent," returns to take back the role of Harper Stewart, the main character and protagonist of "The Best Man." In the original film, Harper Stewart was a young professional who was about to launch his career with his debut novel, which had been selected out of many contenders for Oprah's Book Club. Harper Stewart had it all. His gorgeous girlfriend, Robin, portrayed by Sanaa Lathan in both films, was always there for him and was ready to settle down, but the thought of making a commitment was frightening to Harper as he's about to be a celebrated author. The impending marriage of his closest friend, Lance, portrayed by Morris Chestnut, made matters worse for him. Fortunately, things ended up working out for everyone involved, and Harper ended up marrying Robin after all.

Of course, the talented actors and actresses who portrayed the supporting characters have also reprised their roles in "The Best Man Holiday." Nia Long returns as Jordan Armstrong, an old flame from Harper's past who remains close to him. Monica Calhoun plays Mia Sullivan, Lance's wife from the first film, and the woman who Harper had an impulsive affair with. Harold Perrineau once again plays Julian Murch, one of Harper's best friends and one of the more intelligent characters in the offbeat group. Regina Hall is back as Candace Murch, also known as "Candy," a kindhearted woman who used to be an exotic dancer until she decided to settle down with Julian Murch. Terrence Howard returns as Quentin Spivey, a sneaky and rather rude man who was more or less the antagonist of the first film. Even Melissa De Sousa is back as Shelby, the stuck-up woman Julian Murch dated before he fell in love with Candy.

All these characters make for one fun ride when they reunite for Christmas after nearly fifteen years apart. Whenever old friends get together, drama is bound to happen, and it's no different for these older college buddies. While many of them take the opportunity to repair broken bridges and rekindle dying friendships, others take the opportunity to wreck as much havoc on each other's lives as possible, even if it seems to be all in good fun. It doesn't take long before long-forgotten romances are ignited alongside rivalries that seem like they might never end.

"The Best Man Holiday" is a fun film for any fans of the original. Fortunately, director Malcolm D. Lee managed to tie in enough backstory to make sure it's still enjoyable for moviegoers who might have trouble tracking down the first movie. However, seeing the first is still recommended to truly appreciate the old rivalries and romances between the diverse cast of characters. Like other reunion movies, "The Best Man Holiday" is not really a standalone in spite of Malcolm D. Lee's generous efforts.

Much to the delight of the multitude of fans who've fallen in love with the characters, Malcolm D. Lee is already entertaining the idea of a third movie. He has also considered a television spinoff that would fill in the gaps between "The Best Man" and "The Best Man Holiday," but it remains to be seen whether or not the actors would be interested in taking on a major project. Either way, it looks like there's plenty of material on the horizon that's sure to please fans of this entertaining series.

Rating: 3 out of 5