The Best Man
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Best Man is a well-made romantic comedy that goes a bit deeper than most, tackling issues of fidelity, gender roles, double standards, and honesty. Race, for the most part is ignored, even though the cast is almost exclusively African American. There are some intense arguments, with a few that escalate into fistfights, and plenty of swearing (including the F-word and the N-word). Some people smoke and even more drink, especially at a raunchy bachelor party. There are several explicit discussions about sex, and some scenes feature women in lingerie, but there's no actual nudity.
What's the story?
Harper (Taye Diggs) is thrilled that his novel is about to be published just as he reunites with old friends to be THE BEST MAN at a wedding. The friends are eager to read the book, and quickly realize it's a barely-fictionalized version of Harper's life, and they're all in it. The book is filled with long-buried secrets that threaten some friendships, including one long-ago night that Harper shared with a female friend, an incident that might derail the wedding.
Is it any good?
Writer-director Malcolm D. Lee has put together a romantic comedy that feels real. Unlike so many cliched rom-coms, this one has a central conflict that doesn't seem contrived, and he lays the foundation with some early discussions about fidelity and double standards. Lance (Morris Chestnut), the groom, is a pro football star who regularly steps out on his fiance Mia, but won't even tolerate the idea that she's ever been with another guy. His attitude sets the stage for a third-act conflict when he discovers that Mia once shared a night with Harper.
Lee shows Lance struggling with this realization, agonizing about whether to go through with the wedding and how to deal with his feelings of betrayal, from his fiance and his friend. Chestnut makes this chauvinist into a real person, though with some outdated ideas of marriage. And Diggs' take on Harper reveals a man with a few issues of his own, including a fear of committment that's about to scuttle his own relationship. But they manage to learn from these flaws, in ways that feel painful and honest, and make the film stand out in sea of hokey romance flicks.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the movie's messages about marriage and relationships. What do you think about Lance's expectations for his fiance? Are they realistic? Does he have a double standard?
How does this movie portray African American culture? Do you expect a movie with a majority black cast to deal with race? Would you expect that from a movie with mostly white characters?
|Theatrical release date:||October 14, 1999|
|DVD release date:||February 29, 2000|
|Cast:||Harold Perrineau, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard|
|Director:||Malcolm D. Lee|
|Run time:||121 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||language and sexuality|