14 years may have done damage to some people, but not to these sexy, attractive and rich A-listers. Damn you Hollywood and your plastic surgery.
The whole gang is back together again and this time, 14 years later to be exact, they’re all hanging out during the Christmas holiday. A lot has changed since we last saw Harper (Taye Diggs) propose to Robin (Sanaa Lathan), and believe it or not, they’re still together! However, they are running into a bit of problems: He can’t seem to get another “best-seller” on his resume, and she can’t seem to get past the fact that she’s looking VERY pregnant. But that’s all fine and dandy now, because they’re going to be heading out to Lance’s and Mia’s (Morris Chestnut and Monica Calhoun) mansion for Christmas, where they’ll most likely be joining everybody else. And they do, and it’s a grand-spanking time. Except for the fact that there’s something very serious brewing underneath the surface with this little get-together, that may have more meaning than just “being with old friends”. Something is happening to someone, and everybody’s eventually going to have to find out what, why, to whom and how they’re going to get through it.
Let’s get right down to it, people: Holiday movies, no matter how crappy or non-crappy they may be, are still something to see for many reasons. But the main which being is that it gets you in holiday-spirit, where sharing is caring, giving is living and being thoughtful is, well, I don’t really have anything that rhymes with that but you get the point. Holiday movies are still movies to see because they get you right in the spirit of the holidays, and probably has the end-result of the movie itself turn out a lot better. Especially one that’s a sequel to a movie that already wasn’t even a holiday-placed movie in the first place.
Believe it or not, vanilla ends up outshining these guys. Just because everytime I saw him, I thought he was Jon Hamm.
But hey, whatever sells tickets, right?
While a sequel to a movie that happened 14 years ago, does seem like a bit of a Hollywood cash-in job designed for the people who were fans of the first, and can still remember most of it to actually go out and see this, it’s surprising how much of it didn’t feel lazy or done just because. Instead, a lot of this movie centers on what made the first one such a joy to be around: The chemistry between everybody in the cast. As usual, the guys all get to hang out with their wangs out, talk about chicks, talk about their sex-lives, ladies they’ve banged, problems in their lives and so on and so forth; and the ladies get to do the same as well, except about guys, and their nails (obviously). But the chemistry is heightened more due to the fact that everybody in this cast has returned to these characters, and are getting older, having to deal with more and more problems as they go along in their lives.
The insight for this movie doesn’t go as deep as the first one did, but what this movie does so well here is that it just lets all of these characters interact with one another, acting as they always have around each other, without a change in the beat or rhythm. Sure, a lot has changed in the past 14 years, and some of the problems certain characters had when the first one ended are certainly still there, but the endearing heart and love these characters have for the other never leaves this movie, and made it a pretty damn good time to sit around and watch, in a pretty-stacked theater, no less. One could even argue that the movie could have just been dedicated to these characters sitting around the dinner table, eating, chatting and insulting one another, and it probably would have been a fun time, if not a better one.
However, but of course, that does not happen as there are certain things like “plot”, “character-development” and “emotions” that need to be shown, hence where most of the problems come from in this flick.
Without spoiling it too much, because it doesn’t seem like many reviewers are talking about it, there’s a twist that comes out and about during the half-way mark and it changes the vibe of this flick from “funny, feel-good”, to “dark, sad and really preachy”. Once again, I’m afraid to give it away, but once a character reveals that something is going wrong with them and that there’s more of an underlining reasoning for this little get-together to be happening, then everybody puts on their serious-faces and start praying to god, which annoyed me more than anything else that this movie even bothered trying.
Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t matter that I’m not a religious man by any stretch and it doesn’t matter when a flick tries to show off its religious agenda in a way that wants you to join in prayer along with them, but once the flick started showing those who don’t have much faith in god as those who are dumb and ill-advised, then I just about lost my cool. The trailers and ads haven’t really been high-lighting this hidden-agenda that writer/director Malcolm D. Lee and the rest of his cast clearly has, which makes me wonder who he’s really trying to aim this towards. Because, while the latter-half of the movie is clearly very serious, very god-oriented and preachy, the first-half is, oddly enough, a very sexual, dirty and rather raunchy adult comedy that no character of the Bible would want to see, not even Judas. So, whatever the reason was for this switch in the half-way mark, regardless, it didn’t work and ended up taking away a lot of the pleasure I was having from the first, way-better half of this movie.
Thankfully though, that’s where the cast comes in and shows me why they are all so deserving to pop-up in more things than they usually do. I’ve already talked about my fondness for Taye Diggs as an actor and, once more, gives it all he’s got as Harper, but with more of an “adult”-spin on this guy that I didn’t think was even possible to notice. Sanaa Lathan and him had chemistry in the first movie, which is sometimes evident here, except for the fact that they are always bickering and fighting with one another, that you almost forget that they loved each other for so long, only to stay married for another 14 or so years. I guess they can blame those problems on her pregnancy, but seriously, how many freakin’ times have we seen that angle done by now?!?
The rest of the gang fair as well as they did in the first movie, except that some characters subplots are a little more thinly-written then they were before. For instance, Nia Long’s character’s problems is that her life is so dominated by her work-life, that she can’t just settle-down and get her freak on with somebody, even if it is somebody as dashing and charming as Eddie Cibrian (somebody I wish the movie gave more attention). Seemed like this was the same dilemma her character was going through in the first movie, and while it was easy to forgive there, it just seems old and tired by now, especially since Long herself doesn’t get nearly as much screen-time as she should have.
Same freakin’ mug he’s had for his past 12 movies!!
Can’t say the same for the rest of the peeps in the cast, although they do have some pretty poorly-written subplots going for themselves as well. Harold Perrineau and Regina Hall surprisingly make a believable couple that’s gotten more prestigious with their owning of a private school and whatnot, however, their whole conflict surrounds the fact that a video from the old days of Hall’s stripping has popped-up on YouTube, and is already the latest talk of the town. The video they show is pretty damn tame and uneventful, which makes me wonder whether they got that mixed up with something like Dailymotion. Hey, gets me all of the time!
Though he’s definitely the most successful, most famous actor to come out of the original, believe it or not, Terrence Howard still gets probably the same amount of screen-time and development as he did in that movie, as he does here, but makes every second of it count. Whenever things begin to get a little too serious for its own good and in everybody’s in need of a little laugh or chuckle. Howard’s character is there to bring it, even if it is with something like a simple weed or sex joke. Doesn’t matter which, because the guy’s so damn funny, and makes you realize why he’s the only one out of this cast to really get the most recognition.
Oddly enough, I felt like by the way they left things off with the first movie, he and Melissa De Sousa’s character would have gotten hitched-up or something, making sense why she’s there for the reunion all of these 14 years later, but nope; instead, they treat her like the same old, conceited and annoying beotch like she was in that movie, which made me wonder why she was even involved with this movie in the first place. It’s clearly obvious that nobody liked her in that movie, so why the hell did they even need to bother to call her ass up and get her back with her “friends”? Made no sense to me, but I guess the producers were just begging that they bring a name like “Melissa De Sousa” back to the cast. Because, you know, if you saw that name on a billboard from miles away, you’d be in that line right away.
Alright, I’m done being a dick. For now.
Consensus: Better than most sequels tend to be these days (especially one that takes place 14 years later), The Best Man Holiday shows off its clearly charming and happy cast for as long as it can, until it begins to get too serious, over-long and obviously preachy, making you wonder what the point of this movie’s existence was in the first place.
6.5 / 10 = Rental!!
Underneath the passionate embracing, they hate each other. Aka, exactly what happens in 14 years, people.
Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, Collider, Joblo, ComingSoon.net