Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Best Man

MPAA Rating: R for language and sexuality

Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 58 min.
R
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Taye Diggs and Sanaa Lathan in The Best Man

Starring: Morris Chestnut, Terrence Howard, Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Jr. | Director: Malcolm D. Lee | Producers: Spike Lee, Sam Kitt, Bill Carraro. Writer: Malcolm D. Lee | Distributor: Universal Pictures

“The flower arrangements have been ordered. The sleeping arrangements are still being worked out.”

Sequel to this movie: “The Best Man Holiday” (2013)

Another predictable ensemble comedy-drama revolving around a major life event. The wedding of Lance and Mya also functions as a reunion of their college buddies, most notably Harper (Taye Diggs), a writer. His soon-to-be-published novel, a thinly disguised account of his friends’ past sexual relationships, has already made the rounds among his former classmates, and they aren’t pleased. Tensions, tempers and long-held secrets threaten to ruin the nuptials.

If you are easily offended, there is a lot here that you will not like. There is plenty of foul language, including sexual references, derogatory terms for women, and the African-American males in the cast referring to each other as “n*ggers”. Lance (Morris Chestnut) uses foul language inside of a church. Sex scenes are brief, but they are somewhat graphic. Scantily clad women strippers appear in a long bachelor party scene. A rough fist fight takes place during the same party. There are also scenes of drinking and drunkenness.

What viewers may find most offensive is Harper’s atheism. He is constantly putting down God and the Christian faith. Lance professes to be a Christian man, but his actions in the present and in flashbacks do not portray a Christian lifestyle. Lance’s faith is also played for laughs at several points in the film.

There are some positive messages about committed relationships, friendship and forgiveness in “The Best Man”, but they are wrapped up in mediocre packaging.

Year of Release—1999

Viewer Comments
Although it was great to see another “so-called” positive African-American movie out there, it was very disappointing to see the use of foul language and nudity (to which my husband and I had to close our eyes to in order to keep a pure perspective). As Christians, we were utterly disgusted by the portrayal of Lance the “self-proclaimed yet hypocritical Christian.” It was pitiful to see how poorly his life and doctrine did not match the Bible. As for Harper, the main character, his acting was on target. Much props! However, it was a shame that this talented black writer found it difficult to realize that he needed God even at the very end of the flick, where he initiated prayer when he couldn’t fix the mess himself, then was “forced” to pray in order to become unified with his partner. It would’ve been nice to see Lance and Mya talk about things before the nuptuals. True forgiveness wasn’t revealed to the audience. How can you begin a new life with a sordid foundation? Overall, we rate this movie 2/5. It had a unique storyline, however, the relationships lacked any real depth. With such depth, there would not have been the need to have the foul language and the nudity as movie fillers. My Ratings: [1/3]
—D and N Cooper, ages 34 and 30
I am an African American Christian, and although most African Americans loved this film, I thought it was mediocre at best with still some stereo types of the Black community. I agree that the so called Christian in this movie was a bad representation. Although this was not your typical gang banger flick, the movie did not need the language and the sex. My Ratings: [2/2½]
—John T, age 34
Though I love Jesus with all that I am, I am fully aware that not everyone is on that same road. Hence, my commitment to Christ doesn’t inhibit me from appreciating what I thought was a thoughtful and realistic depiction of the dynamic between friends against a highly sexual backdrop. The vulgarity, scantily-clad women, and lewd bachelor party notwithstanding, this movie did a good job depicting the different behavior between those that walk with Christ and those that don’t. Having said that, the most interesting and Christ-like response comes from the person who shows the most disdain for spiritual things: Harper. I would contend that Harper’s relationship with Mia was strictly platonic. Yet, he subjected himself to an intense level of physical pain in order to maintain his friendship with his aggressor—Lance. This singular moment of unselfishness in not unlike the example of perfection and obedience set forth by Jesus himself. For me, this movie defined a higher level of loyalty and committment to friendship that few of us can really appreciate or ascribe to. If you can get beyond the obvious carnality of the story, you will be richly rewarded with a model of devotion by one man to another that is not often witnessed. My Ratings: [4/5]
—Robert Craft, age 37
I was truly disappointed at this movie. I felt that the cast did an excellent “acting” job, however, the messages that this movie sent out were awful… it’s ok to choose your own destiny; you don’t need God; I love the Lord but I can still sin etc… Unfortunately, there are some of us who actually feel this way. This movie could have really been excellent had the storyline been more interesting and the respect for friendships been displayed. True friends are hard to find and when we find one we need to hold on to them instead of allowing “flesh” to come between them. My Ratings: [1/4]
—Dee Dee, age 38
If you set the cursing and nudity aside I think you would have the perfect movie. I do believe it is possible to make a movie without every word being a curse word and they still could have the Bachelor party w/o showing ALL of the party, I think the director could have been more creative on that aspect. The story line was perfect. I love dialogue movies, no action needed. Here you have an athlete who was obviously raised as a Christian but for some reason as with many of us Christians he has strayed away from the promise but he still know where to go. The Bible. But one thing viewers should know—yes, he could repent each time, but the bible warns us about taking advantage of God’s grace and mercy. SHALL WE THAT ARE DEAD TO SIN CONTINUE IN SIN ANY LONGER… GOD FORBID. I really thought it was great that he made his friend acknowledge Christ for himself. Most modern day movies wouldn’t have taken it that far. We are coming a long way. Chariots of Fire… The Apostle… The Omega Code… seeds are being planted… My Ratings: [2½/4]
—Quincy Whitaker, age 30
I am totally disappointed with this movie. There was way too many vulgar words and expressions used. Not to mention the sexual content. But by far the most offensive part was the character that was a “so-called” believer. He was blasphemous! My Ratings: [1/1½]
—Desiree Allen, age 33
Movie Critics
Extreme profanity. Heavy problems with disrespectful and bad attitudes, sex and nudity. “…a mostly intelligent script… completely believable chemistry between the characters… entertaining… featuring an enjoyable and attractive cast
—ScreenIt!
Abundant and graphic sex. Extreme profanity.
—FamilyStyle
One character comically quotes Scripture, usually in discussions about him cheating on his girlfriend. Another denounces God because he wants to control his own destiny.
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review