DIR/WRI: Malcolm D. Lee • PRO: Malcolm D. Lee, Sean Daniel, Spike Lee • DOP: Rogier Stoffers • ED: Paulk Millspaugh • MUS: Stanley Clarke • CAST: Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut
The unnaturally long gap between this uninspired sequel and 1999’s The Best Man is more head-scratchingly intriguing than anything in the plot of this tepid comedy/drama. Why was there such a long wait? It wasn’t as if The Best Man had carved its name into the annals of comedy history. Here we meet again the same upwardly mobile black couples 14 years later as their relationships are tested by old infidelities, money problems, and illness.
Most of the drama centres on the struggles of Harper (Taye Diggs), whose literary failures have cornered him into writing a biography of Lance (Morris Chestnut), a superstar athlete and Harper’s one-time best friend. The obvious forebear for this reunion-in-a-house scenario is The Big Chill, but this film doesn’t have either the focus or subtlety of Lawrence Kasdan’s classic. Ingredients are lobbed into the mix with abandon so we have the heart-tugging double whammy of a movie cancer death and a movie emergency birth in immediate succession.
The filmmakers are aiming for a lump in the throat, but the effect feels more like choking on a sugar lump. Nevertheless, there is some enjoyment to be had here, particularly from Terrence Howard, though his amusing supporting role is also a painful reminder that this is an actor who should be a star and deserves better material than this.
15A (See IFCO for details)
The Best Man Holiday is released on 29th November 2013