When the nine old friends of “The Best Man’s Holiday” get together for Christmas it’s like a cross between a soap opera and a reality show. Imagine “As the World Turns” as told by Teresa Giudice and Flavor Flav.
In this sorta sequel to 1999’s “The Best Man,” The Sullivans, NFL legend Lance (Morris Chestnut) and wife Mia (Monica Calhoun), plan on a happy Christmas holiday when they invite their closest friends to spend the Christmas holidays at their palatial home.
Here’s a scorecard of the attendees: Former best selling author Harper (Taye Diggs), his pregnant chef wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan), network head (and Harper’s former flame) Jordan (Nia Long), school dean Julian Murch (Harold Perrineau) and his ex-stripper wife Candace (Regina Hall), heavy-lidded party boy Quentin (Terrence Howard) and Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), a reality TV star.
Instead of eggnog and Yuletide carols around the hearth, however, old rivalries rear their ugly heads before a tragedy reminds everyone what friendship is all about.
“The Best Man’s Holiday” is one long cliché. The script telegraphs every plot twist and turn with the subtlety of a kick to the shins and never misses an opportunity to overplay a big melodramatic moment or perform an illegal tonal u-turn mid-scene.
And yet it is a crowd pleaser.
Sometimes clichés are clichés because they’re true and resonate with people, and I guess that is one of the strengths of “The Best Man’s Holiday.” You’ll see everything coming a mile away, you’ll feel manipulated but you’ll also laugh and maybe even shed a tear.
It’s a film built for audiences who enjoy the vulgar rowdiness of reality TV and the comforting clichés of soap opera storytelling.
Is it a good film? Not really, but the better-looking-than-average ensemble cast brings with them loads of charm and the chemistry they share actually puts you onside with the characters despite the paint-by-numbers script.
They’re all engaging performers but Howard stands out in one of his rare forays into comedy.
“The Best Man’s Holiday” isn’t “Best Of” list material but despite being about half-an-hour too long is engaging holiday fare.