I wandered into this movie quite by accident when another movie was sold out – and I am so glad I did! This is a wonderful ensemble comedy, and I have to say, it’s much more universal than any targeted demographic might think it would have been. It’s about friendships and love and commitment (to people as well as to marriage) and it’s not just a chick flick either. I admit freely that I was concerned I would be left out in the cultural dark, but instead I felt welcomed in and very involved with everyone on screen. The main characters (but, sadly, not so much the peripheral ones) imparted a strong sense of history in their interactions – they make the movie real with their beautiful performances. Speaking of beautiful performances, have you ever seen Taye Diggs’ torso? Good heavens! But I digress, whereas the film does not. Don’t get me wrong, there is some largely gratuitous partial nudity, some for the ladies, some for the gents, but the movie is not all about booty or betrayal.
Quentin (played by the magic-eyed Terrence Dashon Howard) reminds me more than a little bit of Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) from American Pie – he’s an anchor to the group who hovers outside them. He has the least to do but for some reason he really stuck in my head after the movie was over. Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs are the meaty core, and Harold Perrineau Jr. (he was in Macbeth in Manhattan and Leo’s Romeo + Juliet) well, there’s one in every crowd. The love these friends have for one another is palpable. The script is great – lots of surprises, lots of painful barreling towards inevitabilities broadcast well in advance, adding to the tension. The best part is the times you think will go how it “always” goes, and then it veers way off somewhere else, but it doesn’t feel forced at all. Very nicely done all around, a fine motion picture for any old time, but super great for the holidays. My companion snuck peeks at me to see if I was misting up but I was too busy reveling in how great it was! Poor Melissa DeSousa (Shelby) had better watch out before she gets pigeonholed in the Bitch role forever. The end credits roll over the cast having a great time, and it’s abundantly clear they are no longer in character. Their enthusiasm for the film is evident the whole time.
Written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Spike Lee’s cousin (oh god he’s MY age! I am such a loser) The Best Man is definitely superior than the 2 1/2 minutes of The Bachelor I sat through while waiting for my actual feature to begin. Three lines of dialogue into that one, and I was ready to hightail it to LA and kill Chris O’Donnell. The Best Man I could see again and again.
MPAA Rating R for language and sexuality.
Release date 10/22/99
Time in minutes 118
Director Malcolm D. Lee
Studio Universal Pictures