Monday, November 18, 2013

The Best Man Holiday (Movie Review)

The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the sequel "The Best Man Holiday" in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.

 

REVIEW TEXT:

 I always feel like my Christmases are exciting... until I watch christmas movies... So much drama.
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“Best Man Holiday” is the intricate story of a group of friend’s who celebrate Christmas together while dealing with the ups and downs of friendship, love, hurt, jealousy, grace, forgiveness, and generally the entire scope of life. On first glance the movie appears to be a typically over acted look at friends and family, but when it finds it’s legs there’s actually a lot to like here.
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Most of this comes down to a lot of really well told interweaving stories. So much of this movie is the definition of humanity. The laughs, the loves, the pain, and the pleasure of what it means to be a living breathing human being. And even though many of these stories do seem a bit over the top, they are presented in a way that feels completely believeable. I think much of that is due to the film’s ability to not just stay on the surface but to go deeper into these lives and relationships. It’s easy for ensemble movies like this to fall into the trap of not giving enough depth to it’s characters and plot, but not here. In fact, I’d say this depth is the best thing about “Best Man Holiday” and the cast locks it in with likeable and nuanced performances all around. Specifically I have to mention Terrence Howard, whose comic relief is such a great addition. Additional side note, I also found it refreshing that a movie that was so pro God and faith was willing to have it’s characters be real people rather than cookie cutter ideas of what people are supposed to be. So real in fact that the movie easily earns it’s R rating, which is an interesting choice in a movie like this, but a choice I think the director earns with the result, even as it will likely limit the audience and marketability.
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So what didn’t I like? That’s easy, the ends. Yes, ends, plural, and I actually mean that in a couple ways. First of all, despite the middle of the film being pretty well done, the movie suffers from pretty big flaws on both ends. The beginning really takes a while to get it’s footing as we are introduced to so many characters in a way that feels disjointed and disorienting. I found myself asking for the first 30 minutes, “Whos that again?” Wait, was that the one girls’ husband or the other girls boyfriend? And who’s that white guy? Unfortunately the folks around me didn’t appreciate me making inquiries to the screen so I had to figure it out myself. Once I did, it flowed quite nicely, it just took a while to get there. And as for the finish, everything just seemed to tie up a bit too nicely into a Christmas Bow, especially after a story so willing to take risks in the middle. The other thing I mean when I say I didn’t like the ends, is that there were too many of them, and they dragged the movie on far past where I felt the conclusion should have gone.
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Overall, “Best Man Holiday” is a surprisingly deep and nuanced story that succeeds in the middle but fails on both ends. Some good performances and a great heart leave it right around a B-.
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So that’s the review, but wait there’s more. Stay tuned for the “Challenge Question” in a bit but first, I’m going to throw up some stuff to click over in this area. If you’d like to subscribe, which I would much appreciate, you can do so by clicking the big gray subscribe button. Want to see more reviews? Here are three of the most recent including a couple Awards contenders I’m just getting to like “In A World” and “Dallas Buyers Club” and the killer whale documentary “Black Fish”. You can also Click the logo up here to go to yourmoviefriend.com where you can search by title for reviews. And finally this review’s “Challenge” question, “name the best Christmas movie that does not not have the word Christmas in the title.” Mine involves a staircase knob that just wont stay on. Just leave your answer in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe!