Sanaa Lathan (Robyn), left, and Taye Diggs (Harper) smile during a scene from ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ which is set to hit theaters Nov. 15.  Credit: Courtesy of NBCUniversal

Sanaa Lathan (Robyn), left, and Taye Diggs (Harper) smile during a scene from ‘The Best Man Holiday,’ which is set to hit theaters Nov. 15.
Credit: Courtesy of NBCUniversal

The last “Best Man” movie ended with a wedding. Fifteen years later, the sequel, “The Best Man Holiday,” thrives on another type of festivity.

The original cast of “The Best Man” returns for this film, which revisits the friends while they reunite for the Christmas holiday, including Sanaa Lathan (Robyn), Taye Diggs (Harper), Morris Chestnut (Lance), Terrence Howard (Quentin) and Nia Long (Jordan) with new addition Eddie Cibrian (Brian).

The characters have matured along with the actors since “The Best Man,” which makes the film unique, Diggs said.

“The fact that real time actually has passed is something that differs from a lot of sequels,” Diggs said in an interview with The Lantern and other college media on Tinychat Nov. 2. “As an actor, it is great to come back and see the group 15 years later as friends, but then also deal with the same group of actors that has matured 15 years as actors as well.”

Diggs said in the time since “The Best Man’s” 1999 release, which detailed the love triangles of a group of friends in New York City, movies like it have become more common and relatable.

“What was great about the first one was there weren’t a lot of movies like ‘The Best Man,’ unfortunately,” Diggs said. “But now you look at the second term of the first African-American president, we as a black people have come forward and I think we can appreciate that … I think these characters are even more relatable today than 15 years ago.”

At the end of “The Best Man,” Lance had finally settled down and married his college sweetheart, Mia. In “The Best Man Holiday,” Lance is in his last season as an NFL running back while also juggling his marriage and his religion.

In “The Best Man,” Jordan was a workaholic with little time for love, but that all changes in the sequel as Jordan connects with Brian, a white male.

“Jordan is a lot more vulnerable and open to love,” Long said. “Now that she has sort of gotten her career in order and she is where she wants to be career wise, I think she is realizing that there is more to life … Once she connects with Brian, I think she realizes that there is a lot of power and importance and beauty in falling in love.”

Long said the fact that her character is involved in an interracial relationship in the movie is not a critical part of the plot.

“Interracial relationships have been going on forever,” Long said. “I believe you should love who you want to love and be with whom you want to be with … when you fall in love with someone, you are not falling in love with who they are. You are falling in love with their soul, and souls are colorless.”

Though watching the first film would help the viewer understand the characters more, it is not a requirement to see “The Best Man Holiday,” Lathan said.

“I don’t think that you need the first ‘Best Man’ because it stands alone and it is enjoyable on its own,” Lathan said. “You can watch it as a little homework assignment, although it’s fun homework because it is so entertaining. Check out the first one and let it just give so much more perspective to what these characters are going through.”

Some students think the sequel will still be relevant today.

“I understand that the times aren’t the same, but the movie will adjust with the times,” said Alante Ward, a third-year in real estate and urban analysis. “It will be able to relate to the old audiences from the first ‘Best Man’ and new audiences.”

Ward said the interracial relationship in the movie will have an impact on viewers.

“I actually think that it will have an impact on expressing progress,” Ward said. “In the first movie, there were no mixed relationships … it can show extreme progress. Even from a movie standpoint, there is growth, learning and open-mindedness. The fact that they have included an interracial relationship in the movie shows that we are moving towards a brighter tomorrow.”

Friendship and forgiveness are two of the most important values that can be taken from this movie, especially by looking at how Lance forgives Harper, Ward said.

“Being able to look at something and seeing even through this hard of a time, Morris Chestnut’s character (Lance) was able to forgive,” Ward said. “Actually going in depth and putting yourself in the shoes of that character and figuring out that he was able to forgive really teaches you a lot.”

Long said “The Best Man Holiday” will leave many with a “wow” feeling.

“There are so many things that when you leave you are going to go ‘Wow, I am experiencing some of this in my own life,’” Long said. “I think that is what makes the film special. It really does mirror the journey of life.”
“The Best Man Holiday” is set to release in theaters Friday.