It's been fifteen years since we first saw these characters in Malcolm D. Lee's surprise 1999 hit film, 'The Best Man'. That little movie, which was produced by Spike Lee, ended up making almost four times the amount of its budget, and did even better on home video. It brought together a stellar cast (most of them were unknowns at the time), a decent story line and blended a mix of comedy and drama fairly well.
Lee went on to make a few other films, both of the slapstick comedy and dramatic variety, but felt the need to re-visit these characters. It seems like Lee took the best parts of the first film and upgraded these sections to make them bigger and better. With this new Christmas themed film called 'Best Man Holiday', there is a solid mix of some laugh out loud moments and some truly tragic events. Again, Lee knows these characters very well, and never treads into a silly territory with them.
It all feels real, despite some of the cliches and re-treads of past films like it. It's good to know that Lee didn't make a direct sequel either, as these characters have aged a good fifteen years, rather then have them starting their new jobs right out of school. Instead we see them late in their careers with families and other friends. Since the four friends are living their successful lives, they haven't been able to spend a whole lot of time together over the past decade and a half with each other. But that is all going to change when Lance and Mia Sullivan (Morris Chestnut and Monica Calhoun) decide to have everyone over for a big Christmas party.
Lance is still a NFL superstar while his wife Mia remains very supportive, but is going through something terrible. It's good to see that Harper and Robin Stewart (Taye Diggs and Sanna Lathan) are married and still together, even though there seems to be a little bit of bad blood between Lance and Harper from the first film. Add to that, Mia's best friend Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long) is still in the mix as a hot, successful woman who has a new white boyfriend named Brian (Eddie Cibrian), whereas Robin is several months pregnant and not looking her best.
Meanwhile Julian and Candace (Harold Perrineau and Regina King) show up as they are madly in love still and run a good charter school, however Julian is not in the best of spirits, because one of the school's biggest donors has stopped funding, due to Candace's past. Then of course there is Quentin Spivery and Shelby (Terrence Howard and Melissa De Sousa), who had an awkward moment in the first film, and of course show up for this sequel.
If you remember, Julian dumped Shelby for Candace in the first film, and Shelby is still not over the breakup some fifteen years later, which makes for some comedic moments in the film. Meanwhile Quentin, who never really wanted to work in the first place, found himself the perfect job, and is as flashy as ever. He also has some of the best one-liners in the film. Lee sets his film to a good pace with some good comedic beats and heartfelt dramatic moments.
There is never a dull moment here, although some scenes are a bit cheesy. There is a dance number, some fights, and a few laughs that keep this film going. At some point, the religious aspects got to be a little much, as this bills itself as a raunchy comedy, but it always finds its focus quickly again. If you're looking for a comedy with a bit of heart for the holiday season, you might find this movie rewarding.
'Best Man Holiday comes with a great 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. I didn't expect this film to look this good, but it really shines. The detail is very sharp with well-defined closeups of all the actor's faces that show wrinkles, makeup blemishes, and individual hairs.
Most of the film takes place in a large mansion, but the depth is surprisingly good as we can make out every prop and texture very well. The colors are very well-saturated and seem to pop off the screen. The greens, reds, and blues look amazing. The black levels run deep and inky with the skin tones looking natural. This a great video presentation, free of any compression issues.
This release comes with a great lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix, and has a solid sound for a romantic comedy. This is a dialogue driven film, so don't expect a lot of sound from the rear speakers. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. There are no pops, cracks, or hissing either.
The dynamic range is fairly wide with some scenes that feature some bigger sound effects, such as the bigger dance routine, and a couple of fights. The speakers really soar when the score and soundtrack kick in. With it's Christmas song list and some pop music, the film really sounds better when the music is part of the scene.
'Best Man Holiday' is a solid sequel. It's not the best romantic comedy of all times, but it has some heart and a few laughs. Plus it is great to see these actors fifteen years later as the same characters who all have big careers. The video and audio presentations are great and the extras should satisfy you. For fans of the original film and those looking for a decent dramedy, you might want to check this one out.