Fate works in mysterious ways, especially when it comes to The Best Man Holiday and how the sequel took fourteen years to make it to the screen. When The Best Man landed in 1999, no one involved could have guessed that the cast and the characters they played would leave such a mark that a follow-up was even warranted.
But, that is exactly what happened. Writer-director Malcolm D. Lee has gathered the characters he created once again, and with the passage of time and the benefit of life experience, their journey is our journey, and the recipient of this development of wisdom is the audience.
What makes The Best Man Holiday such a joy to watch is it has plenty of humor, heart and emotion that run the gamut. Had the sequel arrived in the following few years after the original, it might have been more of the same. Not that that would have been terrible, it’s just that there is something so enthralling about catching up with these characters after life has had its way with them.
Morris Chestnut stars as Lance, a footballer on the verge of breaking the NFL all-time rushing record. And meanwhile, his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) is desperate to get the gang back together for Christmas… and as it turns out, something much more serious is lurking.
The holiday weekend with old friends will happen because Mia wants it, but Lance still has issues with Taye Diggs’ Harper, who he found out in the first film had slept with his soon-to-be wife.
Harper has released a blockbuster book and has not had a hit since. He and his wife (Sanna Lathan) -- a successful cook -- are pregnant after a long period of trying. Meanwhile, Harold Perrineau’s Julian and Regina Hall's Candace are married with kids and running a successful school for disadvantaged children. Their issues come out while the holiday weekend is in full swing and they are kind of funny, and kind of serious.
Meanwhile, Melissa De Sousa’s Shelby has had the most outrageous of times since the gang got together in the 1999 film. She has become a “Real Housewife” and everything that entails! And then there’s Terrence Howard’s Quentin, still smoking weed and managing music acts with great success.
As the weekend begins, it is all catching up and reminiscing, but with a sense of reality that Lee brings to it that most films of this nature seem to forget. These people have lived for 14 years inside his mind and it shows. Their conversations, troubles and tribulations are true to real life and it's evident throughout.
The cast has grown as actors since 1999, particularly Morris Chestnut whose character has to resonate the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows during his The Best Man Holiday journey. And Diggs is right there with him in the challenge department. As his character has so much pride, it is uncanny how he shows the hell he is willing to go through, rather than ask for help.
And all of the actresses bring their A-game with each matching the other’s talents note for note. But the real star of The Best Man Holiday is Lee. He has written and directed a story that is as real as it gets in its mirror of life. After the frivolousness of the twenties was shown to perfection in The Best Man, the maturity of life and the speed bumps depicted that hit us along the way and how those make us the seasoned adults we are later in life is the best gift of all in this “Best Man” holiday treat for fans everywhere.
And the best part is, our The Best Man Holiday review can report, how the film works as a stand-alone feature. One does not have to have seen The Best Man to feel the impact of emotion and power of Lee’s film.