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Harper's autobiographical novel is almost out, his girlfriend Robin desires commitment, and he's best man at the wedding of Lance, a pro athlete. He goes to New York early (Robin will come for the wedding) to hang out with Lance and other friends, including Jordan, his former almost-lover, now in media and privy to an advance copy of the book. The men discuss women, never facing their own double standard; Jordan wants to try again with Harper, at least for one night; and Harper fears that Lance will read his book and learn that the bride-to-be slept with him once to avenge Lance's many affairs. Can Harper mature before Lance kills him, Jordan seduces him, and he loses Robin? Written by
I was surprised to see how little attention this film garnered, despite it's amazing cast and intelligent script. Character based scripts walk a delicate line, but somehow most seem to reap in undeserving praises (St. Elmo's Fire, The Big Chill). Not to sound like a self-righteous broken record, but I truly believe "The Best Man" was passed over because it happened to have an African American cast. It was instantly labeled a "black" movie, before anyone bothered to watch more than the trailer, which is a crying shame, because what everyone missed out on was a fine film.
The characters range from classic (Morris Chestnut's Lance) to surprisingly fresh (Terrence Howard's Quentin), all with very distinct personalities, yet believable connections. (Am I the only one who is so sick of using the "went to college together" excuse for why some film characters are friends, despite the obvious fact that in reality the "cool rebel" doesn't hang with the "prudish nerd" and so on.)
Not only does the film have refreshing takes on the inter-dimensional relationships of characters, it's not afraid to face the characters honestly, to show each individual's flaws...they have depth, soul, contradictions, much like REAL PEOPLE! Amazing! The themes are universal; friends, love, mistakes, forgiveness. The dialogue is witty, yet not overly done to sound like "movie dialogue" that no one in the real world speaks.
And though the race of the characters does not matter in this movie, I applaud Malcolm D. Lee for writing a film featuring black characters that are all successful, independent and intelligent. No one is rapping or drug dealing, no one is blaming the man for setbacks. The characters actually represent the MAJORITY of the black community, just regular people, living their lives. How refreshing from the Hollywood stereotypes, believed by suburban white America, that every successful black man is a rapper or a basketball player and every other one a criminal or janitor. It's a shame this film didn't make for money, perhaps then we'd see more of this trend, movies based on script rather than race.
Though I loved it, this film probably won't change your life. It's not one that will ever be considered one of the best films ever (though I think it took bold steps in closing the race gap in film). And I'm not saying it's an absolute must-see for everyone. But for discerning viewers with perhaps some taste and hunger for something a little different, I recommend you treat yourself to something that you probably haven't seen in a long time: a simply good movie.
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