First, no spoilers. Feel free to read without fear of learning all the twists and turns (and there are plenty) in @TheBestManMovie.
My first thing was getting past the tagline: Times change. Friendship doesn't. That is patently untrue so start off by suspending your disbelief. Hey, this is a movie and movies need a premise. Friendships are tricky but they are a universal theme so we'll go with it.
And now... a disclaimer: I will admit that I was not a huge fan of The Best Man. The characters didn't feel fully fleshed out, there was a lot (too much) going on and there were some characters you were supposed to like but didn't so much. Not only a hot mess movie but a wedding movie as well - reunion of old friends, bachelor/bachelorette party drama, drinking, confessions, fights, will they/won't they, they do, electric slide, garter toss, everybody's happy and we're out. Put that aside, this movie grows up. I appreciated it and found there are lots of reasons for everyone (both guys and gals) to go see this movie. I'm serious. Let's start with a trailer:
Okay then, here we go:
1) It's for the grown & sexy set. While there are universal themes that people of all ages will easily relate to, this movie is geared for people who have real-life-sometimes-shit-happens-and-you-got-to-deal-with-it experiences. I loved that about this movie. There are "we got kids" struggles, "we've been together and now what" struggles, the "I'm a professional woman and can I actually have it all" struggles as well as "what do do when your perfect life ain't perfect" struggles and "have I fully lived up to my potential or are my best days behind me" struggles. Here. For. It. All of it.
2) It's not really a chick flick. Oh there's enough hearts and flowers to spill into that territory but this movie deals with some real stuff. Yes, they feel compelled to bowtie up things up but that's just smart movie making. There's stuff that will make you think, laugh, cry, wince, drool and even "whelp!" Over-the-top but real. At one moment, half the audience stood up and applauded while the rest of us held our breath because we sensed what came next. That's smart theater.
3) It's well written, it's not just over-the-top dramatical, we need a laugh here, we need some skin there formulaic. It flows and makes sense (it's probably about twenty minutes too long but we forgive that part when they set up the ending). The characters become very much like prettier versions of people in your life that you've seen in similar situations. It feels like we've been invited into the plot and can hang out and make ourselves at home while everything unfolds.
4) Eye Candy. Eye Candy for the fellas, for the ladies, for the exotic, for the light and the dark. And it's all on display. Wonderfully wardrobed from evening wear to next to nothing, all of the pretty is on display.
5) It's better than the first one. Did I say that already? So much better, I need to check and see if the same person wrote them both. This one had some depth. Even the fellas at the screening were nodding like, "Okay." Something for everyone, I'm telling you. Except the kids, do not take kids to see this movie. Grown. And. Sexy.
If I may point out a few things:
- Harper (Taye Digg's character) is supposed to be the main character but you find yourself not caring so much about his angsty angst especially when he just does stupid stuff.
- Morris Chestnut has been fine for years. Years I say. God Bless that brother. His character is supposed to be a forgiving and forgetting Christian but "Lance" can't seem to do either. I would care more but damn he fine.
- Terrence Howard always plays that dude. But he truly plays it to perfection. He and Melissa DeSousa are twisted sides of the same ratchet coin.
- The soundtrack is smartly done. The duet of Marsha Ambrosius & Anthony Hamilton doing a gospel version of "As"... so much awesome.
- Eddie Ciprian is underutilized. And yummy. But there's a scene between him and Nia Long that is so damn real, my girlfriends and I were like "Wooooo." (He also makes an awesome Olivia Pope reference)
- Fellas, the ladies look good. And there's plenty of the sexy and silly for your viewing pleasure.
- If you have any love for New Edition, the scene with the gents lip-syching "Can You Stand The Rain" is priceless. Say it with me now, priceless.
Look here, just go see it. It was really awesome. I expected it to be okay. It blew past that and kept going. I'm giving it 4 suede pumps out of 5.
Come back and let me know what you think.