#ThrowbackThursday review: ‘The Best Man’ (1999)

Terrence Howard, center, is shown in a scene from "The Best Man." (Photo credit: Universal Pictures)

Terrence Howard, center, is shown in a scene from “The Best Man.” (Photo credit: Universal Pictures)

‘The Best Man’ humorous, if unimpressive

Why is it that weddings tend to bring out all the pent-up drama, all the emotion and angst and familial chaos locked away in even the most mild-mannered person? Is it the nuptials? The commitment? The copious flow of liquor?

All that and more — a roman-à-clef regarding the main characters at this wedding in particular — form a perfect maelstrom in writer/director Malcolm D. Lee’s “The Best Man.”

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Funny and romantic, though hardly creative or inspired, “The Best Man” boasts a strong cast with memorable characters with distinct personalities. All those personas come at you full force as the plot for this comedy of gaffes takes off.

The scene: a wedding for football-star Lance (Morris Chestnut), a bridegroom with a quick temper and outdated notions that marriage will cure his wandering eye and that his bride should be a virgin.

It seems things are on track until it’s discovered that Lance’s best man, fiction writer Harper (Taye Diggs), has penned his first novel, using his old friends as characters in his roman-à-clef work. As you can imagine, once these friends read themselves in his book, the mood quickly alters.

The truth in his novel exacerbates tensions, playing off sexual crosscurrents and ideology, especially for our self-righteous groom, who wants to call off the wedding. (Which, at times, seems like the best recourse, but not for the reasons first espoused.)

Filling out the ensemble, we have Terrence Howard as the all-seeing, always-truthful guitar player; Nia Long, a TV director who has history with Harper; Sanaa Lathan as his girlfriend and possibly the most sane one of the bunch; and Harold Perrineau and Melissa De Sousa as the ill-matched couple.

The themes and plot structures are inventions already created and probably well recognized by most. Still, the humor flows freely and the scripting is solid. If you’re in the mood to see some crazy antics along with a few jabs at societal norms, you could do worse than “The Best Man.”

Three wedded stars out of five.

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