best man holiday - audrey

Star-studded Opening Night Premiere Party sponsored by MARTINI at Studio XXI was attended by cast of “The Best Man Holiday” including (left to right) Sean Daniel (producer), Harold Perrineau, Malcolm D. Lee (producer, director and writer), Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Terrence Howard

*Here comes Santa Claus and he’s a little early this year!

Extraordinary director/writer Malcolm D. Lee is giving us an early Christmas present – and lots to be thankful for — with the pre-Holiday release of his highly anticipated film The Best Man Holiday — a sequel to his hit movie “The Best Man” released by Universal Pictures in October, 1999.

The “feel good” movie is a must see film that is not just for African Americans as there are life lessons that anyone could benefit from.

The Best Man Holiday took over the enviable number one box office slot when it was released on Friday, November 15, 2013 leaving many mouths wagging in disbelief especially since it beat out the favored “Thor 2.”  Although critics are pointing out that the margin of win was small – a win is a win!  So, get over it!  (However, “Thor 2” did a strong enough comeback on Saturday to win the weekend overall.) Now, Lee, bring on the prequel.

That said, what’s really amazing about this film is that those who saw the original are able to follow the same characters and experience the changes in their lives whether or not they saw the original as this is just a straight up, no chaser film to follow and the viewer (new or a fan) is able to join in the fun and changes without missing a beat.  What I particularly liked about the film is that the characters in the movie resemble someone we all know – perhaps even a family member.

Girlfriends, bring your tissues as you’ll laugh, cry and go through the changes that women go through whether it’s a health related matter, infidelity, family crisis, etc.  It hits home.  If you have a BFF, share this picture with her as it will only bring you closer together.  The chemistry is off the hook!  One of my most intimate pleasures in the film was when buffed Morris Chesnut took off his shirt.  Try watching that without getting a girlie feeling.

Boyfriends, don’t go there!  This is not just a chick’s flick as there are just as many relatable issues for you to deal with.  BMFFs will particularly get a big kick out of the male brotherhood bond that resonates throughout the film – a brotha having a brotha’s back during the best and worst of times.  Special mention to the love you’ll feel from their smashing take on New Edition’s “Can You Stand The Rain.”  The snapping choreography is such fun to watch.

The music narrative is contagious and will leave you with a tingly feeling all over.  A pre-requisite for the Christmas Season, you’ll sing along to holiday favorites including Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas,” Stevie Wonder’s “As,” Nat King Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song,” and R. Kelly’s “Christmas, I’ll Be Steppin’.”

Produced by Sean Daniel and Malcolm D. Lee based on characters created by Lee, The Best Man Holiday stars Monica Calhoun, Morris Chestnut, Eddie Cibrian, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau and Melissa de Sousa.

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The male cast members perform ‘Can You Stand the Rain’ in ‘The Best Man Holiday’

The New York premiere and after party was hosted by director Lee.  The special premiere screening took place at The Bow Tie Chelsea Cinema in tony Chelsea, New York and was attended by Lee and cast members Morris Chestnut, Harold Perrineau, Nia Long, Sanaa Lathan, Taye Diggs, Melissa de Sousa and Terrence Howard.  Before the movie, the stellar cast sashayed down the red carpet where fans and paparazzi yelled out their names to the excitement of onlookers and passerbys.

R&B legend R. Kelly’s unexpected arrival caused quite a ruckus on the carpet, as the female cast members all stopped what they were doing and ran to greet him and pose for pictures.

Last but certainly not least, handsome Morris Chestnut arrived just in the nick of time to greet fans and sign a magnum bottle of MARTINI Asti, bedazzled in crystals with the movie title, before disappearing into the theater to take his seat.

Folks sitting near the handsome hunk watched him squirm in his seat when at the beginning of the premiere screening, the cast all cheered each other on as the opening credits were rolling and when Chesnut took his shirt off in the film the cast members and audience squealed with excitement much to the embarrassment of the modest male star.

Other luminaries walking the red carpet included Michael Strahan of the popular ABC-TV daytime chat fest “Kelly & Michael, who said, “I loved the first movie and I’m very excited about the sequel.”

When asked what he admires about Malcolm D. Lee as a film maker, jokester Terrence Howard grinned, “I admire that he’s hired me twice, other than that he sucks!  Cause he did like 15 movies, but he hired me twice.”  Nia Long commented that it was great to reunite with the cast almost 15 years later.  She said “I think it’s wonderful. I’m hoping the sequel lives up to the first one.”

The cast sipped on MARTINI sparkling wine during cozy segments of the film creating a fun ambiance.  This same warm and cozy feeling was carried over to the after party held at Studio XXI in Chelsea and sponsored by MARTINI where party goers, including actor Kevin Chapman, Sportscaster Pam Oliver, who made an appearance in the movie, and DC restaurateur Lance London, enjoyed mini size bottles of MARTINI Rosé, Asti and Prosecco as they celebrated the film and congratulated the cast.  (Photos courtesy Martini)

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard