16 November 2013 | Shervingtony
Not As Good As Original, But Still Good 14 Years Later
As an African-American professional it severely pains me that, in general, when people think of "Black Cinema" in today's society their minds immediately head in one of two directions; A Tyler Perry film or a film in which racism plays a key plot role. Rarely do we see African-American men and women, living professional lifestyle, or even everyday lifestyles. This is why, at least to me, "The Best Man" still holds up to this day some 14 years later. They weren't stereotypical African-American characters and you saw them as just that... characters. The relationships amongst the cast were very strong and it appeared in the dynamics of their friendships. Unfortunately, a lot of that is lost in this sequel that, although appropriate for the time, somehow simultaneously seems to come a few years too late.
It's great to see the exact same ensemble cast return 14 years later when many films fail to do so even a year or two later. The aging on them with such a time lapse also adds to the dynamic of the film as well. However, this dynamic feels very wasted. In having grown apart in the past 14 years the script does a minimal job of establishing that the characters are now distant of one another. Where as in "The Best Man" the relationships felt strong and genuine in this film it should seem much easier to convey that the characters are distant; and yet the film fails at doing this.
Perhaps the film could have overcome this with a more concise plot. But instead the film focuses on several, incredibly predictable, plot points to draw you in. What occurs is a sense of confusion as to why you are seeing what you are seeing. One second you find yourself cheering for a friendship, or a certain character, and the next that story disappears for 15 minutes only to reemerge. Unfortunately, in order to bring all of these stories together the writers rely on two easily foreseeable plot devices which I will not spoil for you but you will surmise what they are within 20 minutes of viewing.
That said, despite these obvious flaws I found myself enjoying this film. As I sat with my wife I ran the gambit of emotions. I laughed often - even if at times it was from very juvenile sex or race jokes - and I bordered on tears at points. Terrence Howard's "Q" steals the show again some 14 years later. Other than Sanaa Lathan I found every member of the principle cast to be good. It was very good to see a film that, although no where near the quality of it's predecessor, still portrays African-American professionals, and now families, in a light that isn't overly stereotypical. An enjoyable film that I might not add to my personal collection but will certainly watch when others want to.