The Best Man Holiday

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (Malcolm D. Lee). 120.

THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY (Malcolm D. Lee). 120 minutes. Opens Friday (November 15). See listings. Rating: NN

The Best Man Holiday is like the Christmas dinner that starts off with laughs and high spirits but keeps dragging along until you can’t hold down the eggnog.

This sequel to 1999’s The Best Man is an overstuffed turkey. The itinerary for this holiday weekend includes the typical sex, secrets and scandals, followed by a rah-rah football game, a shamelessly dour cameo by the grim reaper and a climactic visit from the stork – more or less in that order. There’s so much material it could be stretched out until Easter.

Taye Diggs reprises his role as Harper, the once bestselling author whose writer’s block leaves him the most cash-strapped among his former entourage, who’ve all come out on top of the world. Opportunity knocks when football star Lance (Morris Chestnut) invites the old gang over to his lavish estate, opening the door for Harper to weasel his way into penning a biography on his former best friend.

There are several more schmaltzy and contrived sub-dramas clamouring for attention. None warrant a Kleenex despite the best efforts of a mostly fine ensemble cast who fare much better with gags and camaraderie in the early goings.

The gift that keeps on giving here is Terrence Howard. His chronic bachelor Quentin is the only character who shows up on Christmas without baggage, leaving him free to revel in all the best zingers.

Quentin could very well be speaking about the movie when at one point he utters, “That was some melodramatic shit.”

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