Movie Review – The Best Man Holiday (2013)

Director: Malcolm D. Lee

Stars: Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Eddie Cibrian

Big cast! The Best Man Holiday is about a group of friends who get together around the holiday season. It’s been a while since they’ve all been together, and they find that it’s difficult to deal with old romantic feelings and drama from the past, as well as adjust to the changing circumstances of their lives.

It starts off in a way that I found inventive. A lot of the background information about what happened with these people is given as the opening credits roll, so we’re saved a lot of clunky background exposition later on. It’s something I think a lot of other films that have to juggle big casts could learn from, so I hope that it appears again. All the characters have different problems they’re dealing with, and many of them have dated or slept together before. In fact at points it’s difficult to keep track of which people have been romantically involved, and it’s best to not put too much effort into thinking about that as it will distract from the story.

Many of the plot beats are predictable but the film manages to develop the characters enough that we do care when the stories unfold. It definitely gives more focus to certain characters and dynamics more than others, but this is to be expected in a film with this many characters.  The acting is good throughout and sold the melodrama. There’s no excusing it, this film is incredibly melodramatic. However, it did set me in the mood for Christmas.

At the beginning I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like it or not because something felt a little…off about it. I attribute this to it finding its tone, because it shifts through comedy and drama so often that it can be jarring at first, but once you become attuned to it I think The Best Man Holiday is a film with a lot of great moments that tug at the heartstrings so if you like films with big ensembles and want a bit of Christmas spirit then this is a film for you.

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