Review: The Best Man Holiday Is Just a Notch Above Madea

Boyz II Men: Now available for house parties.
Boyz II Men: Now available for house parties.

The Best Man Holiday could be defined as an aspirational dramedy. Aspirational, because everybody in this film is well off, strikingly good looking and, for the most part, well intentioned. The only element separating this movie from the Tyler Perry canon (a potpourri of moral rigidness and common sense) is artistic discipline and some spice.

Just as prequel The Best Man, Holiday is an ensemble piece with Taye Diggs at the centre. Diggs is Harper, a once promising writer whose career has stalled. Since the bills are piling up, Harper reluctantly agrees to attend a three-day long Christmas soiree thrown by his former best friend Lance (Morris Chesnut), an all-star football player. The goal is to get his authorization to write a biography. Unfortunately for Harper, some old wounds are still open, namely he once slept with Lance’s wife.

The Harper-Lance plot is just one of the mono-dimensional conflicts included in the film. There is a real-housewife type whose sole purpose is to cause trouble; a party guy (Terrence Howard, who deserves better) who fails to see the point of relationships; a couple torn apart by an unsavory past, and so on. Every character is a purely emotional being, meaning no one takes rational decisions in the course of the entire film. Harper’s preliminary title for the Lance biography says it all: “God Family Football”.

In the eventuality the audience missed the original film, Holiday recaps the events in The Best Man. Problem is, that movie seems much better than the stuff on screen. The only people with a tiny bit of chemistry are Diggs and Nia Long and they aren’t even a couple in the film.

The Best Man Holiday progresses painlessly until the final quarter, in which the movie becomes a sappy mess. Let’s just say some of life’s milestones take place in a matter of minutes and everything is tied down with a nice little ribbon. It’s not a disaster, but has no substance. Two prairie dogs talking about their feelings.

Author: Jorge Ignacio Castillo

Journalist, film critic, documentary filmmaker, and sometimes nice guy. Member of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. Like horror flicks, long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. Allergic to cats.