The Best Man Holiday

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Best Man, which came out in 1999 is one of those black classic films that everyone my age has seen, alongside  films like Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar, The Wood. These are to be found in DVD collections of twenty something's all over London (where are the black British classic films? Another blog maybe?)

Malcolm D.Lee's Christmas themed sequel comes almost 15 years since the original. The opening titles give a nice refresher of the characters and their relationships, showing key moments from the first film and a brief catch up on what has happened since, who's got married, had kids, flourished in their amazing jobs. 

The film takes place over the Christmas holiday, with football star Lance Sullivan (the delectable Morris Chestnut who does not age) and his wife Mia Sullivan (Monica Calhoun) inviting all their old crew to their huuuuge home for a weekend of festive activities. 
The original film dealt with the group of friends getting to the age where they are settling down in careers and their love lives, making that step into adult life. The Best Man Holiday picks back up with the friends (Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Terence Howard, Regina Hall, Sanaa Lathan - basically the cream of black Hollywood) fully ensconced in middle age. Married, numerous kids or trouble conceiving, successful jobs. 

The film touches on things like male responses to money problems post-recession and the sexual history of partners (it is always, ALWAYS men who care about this stuff kmt) but also deals with bigger issues of mortality and friendship, fertility and inter-racial dating. 

Is the film, with celebrity sports stars, writers, tv execs and reality stars all in one friendship group entirely realistic? Probably not but it is entirely aspirational, and I think there are too few positive and successful portrayals of black people on film. 
A smartphone gag lasts entirely too long and seems a lazy attempt to update a format that already works, but the banter between friends and Quentin's (Terence Howard) sleazy drawled quips are still spot on, it was the first film I've seen in ages with the audience literally LOLing and clapping at the screen. 

For all the laughter, the film is definitely emotional so Shanika Says, go and watch with your bestie or take a date. I teased my best pal for crying and before I knew it I was reaching for her hand while using my other to wipe away my own tears. The sound of sniffling was to be heard all over! 

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