A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Best Man Holiday, an ensemble dramedy starring Taye Diggs, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, and Terrence Howard, offers plenty of laughs but mostly around mature topics, including sex, marital discord, financial instability, and the like. The film, a sequel to The Best Man, is pretty gloomy too, touching on the subject of mortality and chronic illness around Christmas-time. There is plenty of sexual innuendo and swearing, too, including "f--k."
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What's the story?
From the outside, Harper (Taye Diggs) is living the good life. A baby with his wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan) is finally on the way, after years of trying. He's working on yet another book, and he's a professor at New York University. But then the book is suddenly a no-go, and so is the job, and almost overnight Harper feels like he can't show up at the reunion planned by his old flame Mia (Monica Calhoun) and her husband, NFL star and Harper's ex-best friend, Lance (Morris Chestnut). Luckily, other friends, like Julian (Harold Perrineau Jr.) and Quentin (Terrence Howard) will be there too. But so will Jordan (Nia Long), his best friend and almost-girlfriend. Besides, everyone seems to be dealing with their own problems.
Is it any good?
Director Malcom D. Lee has fashioned a fine, if gloomy, follow-up to The Best Man, assembling his fantastic cast, who once again exhibit great chemistry. That's essential for an ensemble movie like THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY, especially since it relies on bonds forged in the original to hook viewers once again. That's its genius, but also its challenge, because if you're not up to speed on everything that happened before, it's unclear if you'd be so committed to experiencing the roller-coaster emotions that this sequel elicits. The film does its mighty best to explain the intricate bonds up front, which unfortunately makes for a lumbering start. The best parts show the brotherhood and sisterhood shared.
Still the film trades on some tired gender stereotypes. And some issues seem manufactured just to exist. The Best Man Holiday is a forgettable vacation, but watching it still makes for a decent break.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how friendship is portrayed in the movie. What binds these friends together after all these years? Do the challenges to their friendships seem believable? What is the movie's message about friendship and marriage?
Does the movie break new ground when it comes to the ensemble movie genre? Does it rely on tired tropes? If so, which ones?
- In theaters: November 15, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: February 11, 2014
- Cast: Harold Perrineau, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard
- Director: Malcolm D. Lee
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: language, sexual content and brief nudity
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.