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Nia Long talks to the TJMS crew about how her character has changed and what to expect in the sequel. Listen now. 

It’s been 14 years in the making and sometimes when that much time has passed, a film sequel can be a huge disappointment. But in the case of “The Best Man Holiday” the sequel to the 1999 movie about several poste-college age friends coming together for a wedding, the passage of time has made for an even richer movie.

In “The Best Man” Taye Diggs played Harper Stewart, a writer whose book about his college friends caused controversy among them. Those friends included high-achieving TV executive Jordan Armstrong (Nia Long) football star Lance Sullivan (Morris Chestnut) and friends Q (Terrence Howard) Mia (Monica Calhoun) Shelby (Melissa de Sousa), Candace (Regina Hall) and Julian (Harold Perrineau, Jr.).

In the first film, Lance’s upcoming marriage to Mia creates problems for the friends as a secret is revealed.In the second, Mia reunites the friends for the Christmas holiday weekend. Now married to Lance, who is on the verge of retiring from professional football, Mia seems anxious to bring the friends together again. During the course of a holiday weekend, things come to a head for several of the characters, more secrets are revealed and more relationships tested.

The great thing about “The Best Man Holiday,” especially for viewers who were around the same ages as the group in both films is that is shows the natural trajectory of the character’s lives. The crew of friends that was in their late 20’s in the first film is now in their early 40’s and struggling with the kinds of life problems that people do over that timespan. Whether it’s financial, relationship, family or career oriented, everyone in “The Best Man Holiday” is dealing with something – whether it’s loss, trust, friendship or love.

That makes “The Best Man Holiday” more than just a frothy date film.There are times in the movie when you are both laughing and crying with much of the comic relief predictably provided by Terence Howard’s charater, Q. It’s kind of a shame that Howard, who was a little-known actor when the first movie was released, hasn’t done more comedy in the interim, since his comic timing is impeccable. And it’s also a little sad that while Howard, Chestnut, Perrineau, Diggs, Hall and Long have worked regularly since the first movie, it’s been a tougher road for de Sousa and Calhoun, both solid actresses.

There are minor glitches in “The Best Man Holiday,” including an obvious continuity break when Howard’s hair goes from a twists to ‘fro and back, and the fact that with so many storylines packed into the film some are resolved a little too neatly. And there’s also the fact that Black rom-coms generally show Black folks experiencing what author bell hooks recently called “R&B blackness” which shows every character living a relatively high-end life. (While that’s not unrealistic for a group of college graduates, it’s not as nuanced as it could be.) But on the other hand, it’s great to see a group of Black friends who have educations, who are accomplished and who are all doing well, but still have some of the real-world problems anyone else does.

“The Best Man Holiday” allows you to reenter the world of familiar characters and laugh and cry with them as they navigate the minefields of adulthood. It covers the gamut of life experience and does so with humor and pathos. It’s a holiday worth enjoying.