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'Best Man' crew delivers again in 'Holiday' film

  • From left, Harold Perrineau Jr., Taye Diggs and Terrence Howard star in "Best Man Holiday," about when college friends reunite after 15 years over the Christmas holidays, they discover just how easy it is for long-forgotten rivalries and romances to be ignited. Universal Pictures

Candace (Regina Hall) and Julian (a twitchy Harold Perrineau) run an up-and-coming private school, but there are funding problems.

Jordan (Nia Long) may be a top exec at MSNBC, but she's embarrassed to be embarrassed by having a white beau (Eddie Cibrian).

Marketing consultant and sometime music producer Quentin (Terrence Howard) is still partying and smoking pot like it was 1999. And floozy Shelby (vampy Melissa De Sousa) may be the villain on "Housewives of Westchester." But she is between marriages and failing as a mom as she manages her fame.

A flashback reminds us of the bonhomie they shared back then. And this cast of seasoned pros slips easily into playing characters who can't help but fall back into their old roles within the group.

Once we get past the cliches and compliments — "You're a sensitive brother," "I'm your man," "It's all good" — the fur flies and things get a bit too real.

Lance and Harper have unresolved issues, which Harper needs to sneak around and fix if he's to get Lance to agree to letting him ghost-write the jock's autobiography.

Julian has to figure out a way to raise money despite the fact that his wife's ancient sexual history is now a YouTube phenomenon.

Everybody's got a secret, every player has a role in the play, with Howard the funniest he has ever been doing a sort of sassy, stoned comic relief.

The cute stuff — the men do a lip-sync "talent show" as New Edition — is balanced against the raw language and the downers that come in the serious and sad second half of the film. Tonally, it's hard to reconcile the film's raw bits with a shoehorned-in nod to faith.

That weighs down "Holiday" and makes it overstay its welcome. But it's still an amusing, well-acted and sharply-timed holiday comedy — old friends getting together to prove that careers, families and kids aside, they've still got their R-rated edge, just as they did in college.


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