Just in case you haven’t seen “The Best Man,” the movie surrounds old college pals celebrating the upcoming wedding of football star Lance Sullivan (Chestnut) and his long-time girlfriend, Mia (Monica Calhoun). Lance’s best man, Harper (Diggs) is getting ready to publish a book entitled “Unfinished Business,” in which the group slowly, but surely figures out is based on them (despite Harper’s attempts to disguise this) and Mia’s secret that she slept Harper to avenge being frequently cheated on by Lance gets exposed. The wedding happens and all the other sub-plot mishaps are seemingly resolved, but as you’ll see in the “Best Man Holiday” sequel, things between Harper and Lance were never the same.
I have to say, based on the trailers, I wasn’t interested in seeing this sequel. I loved the idea of this talented cast reuniting, but the previews in which we see the bunch just hanging out and having humorous conversations made “Holiday” appear to be a plot-less vanity project. I ended up heading to the theater though (can’t resist a girls-night-out invite) and I now know why the previews were shot like they were. It’s nearly impossible to drop hints about the inner details without giving everything away; so much so, I wasn’t even sure how I’d complete this critique. Here goes nothing. Everyone’s careers (and families) have blossomed in one way or another and they’ve all gotten really preoccupied. Mia rounds up the gang for Christmas weekend at her and Lance’s mansion. At 1st glance, lives look stable and near-perfect, but their personal tribulations bubble over into plain view with everyone under the same roof and Lance and Mia have the biggest secret of all. Movies with this type of backdrop are hard to make unpredictable, but somehow Lee avoided clichés and cheesy, scandalous, over-the-top story devices and still gives us a riveting, highly emotive film that we could be engrossed in. Lee accomplishes this by being jarringly realistic (even the light-hearted and humorous moments appear like they do in real-life) and writing his tale in such a way where there’s a larger, interweaving narrative about brotherhood, bonds, forgiveness, jealousy, egotism, emotional stagnancy, coping with and addressing the past, spirituality, self-reflection, marriage and converging your ghosts and demons with that of your mate’s that all of the characters experience. Many films, regardless of being focused on an ensemble, take lessons and apply them to characters individually, but Lee’s group learns collectively and it’s beautiful to watch, as propelled with stellar performances. “Best Man Holiday” is entertaining, extremely well-written, heartfelt, visually gorgeous (everything is crisply glowing) and relatable to any audience. Go see it; don’t let the trailers mislead you. Shout-out to my girls for yanking me along.