Reel Reviews | The Best Man

by Joe Barber

Malcolm Lee (Spike’s cousin) makes an uneven debut as a writer/director with this slick, often shallow comedy/drama. Taye Diggs (1999’s winner of the “Hardest Working Man in Showbiz” Award) is a writer whose first book is about to be published.

Following the rule that you write about what you know, his book is all about the college relationships between himself and his circle of friends. As he heads to New York for the wedding of his best friend (Morris Chestnut), a top NFL wide receiver and his girlfriend, another friend from college, Diggs gets a rude awakening. The sample volume of the book has made its way through his circle of friends and the woman he loved in college (Nia Long) and still loves, is now a high-powered TV producer, wants to do a piece on the book, and, maybe, “do” Taye, too.

The movie works in fits and starts and its attitude towards Black women, in particular, successful ones is downright disgusting. What makes it worth watching is Diggs’ warm, layered performance and the truly fine supporting work of Terrence Howard. His Quentin is a “dog”, a real ladies’ man and not to be trusted. But Howard takes him past stereotype to make him something special.

Malcolm Lee has some of the same weaknesses as cousin Spike, he leans on stereotypes once too often and needs to work on his endings and female characters, but, thanks to Howard, this is a movie worth seeing.