The Best Man Holiday is a cinematic injection of the holiday spirit. The follow up to 1999’s surprise hit The Best Man, Holiday is set during the Christmas season, which it uses as a catalyst to bring a group of friends even closer together through displays of raw emotion, tests of love, the entrance of new life and the passing of another. By the end of the movie, I was ready to start decking the halls.
Holiday begins with novelist Harper Stewart (Taye Diggs) learning that his newest book is a failure. With no publisher willing to buy it, it’s suggested that he write a biography of retiring football sensation Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut). Harper and Lance had been best friends, but they had a falling out and have not spoken in years.
Fortunately for Harper, Lance’s wife Mia (Monica Calhoun) invites Harper and his wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan) to celebrate the holiday with them. Joining the couples will be a gaggle of Lance and Mia’s friends, including the business savvy Jordan (Nia Long, permanently affixed to a Blackberry); the mild-mannered Julian (Harold Perrineau) and his wife, Candace (Regina Hall), a former exotic dancer; Julian’s ex-girlfriend Shelby (Melissa De Sousa); and the foul-mouthed Quentin (Terrence Howard), who lives for drama at every turn.
Desperate for money and with a baby on the way, Harper accepts the invitation with the intention of acquiring critical information needed to write the bio. But then he gets the cold shoulder from Lance as soon as he and Robin arrive at the party. One by one, the guests learn about Harper’s dire financial situation and start asking questions. Hopes for a peaceful holiday gathering quickly fade as personal issues and heat from old flames lead to heavy doses of drama. For example: Julian discovers an explicit video of his wife that leaves him in utter shock; Shelby finds said video and decides to use it to her advantage; Jordan struggles with the possibility of losing her independence to be with a man she cares about; and Quentin savors every moment of drama, even inadvertently causing some himself.
The Best Man Holiday is a heartfelt movie that mixes heavy doses of comedy with powerful emotion. I laughed throughout and would gladly check out a third film in the series. There were several parts that had me thinking about my own personal life and the bonds that I have with my friends. One moment in the film even had me holding back tears. I could easily see myself watching this flick with close friends, having a spectacular time and laughing as we compared ourselves to each of the characters.
So go see The Best Man Holiday, but be forewarned: you’ll find yourself wanting to head for the Christmas tree lot as soon as the credits start to roll.