The Best Man (1999 film)

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The Best Man
The Best Man (1999 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Malcolm D. Lee
Produced by
Written by Malcolm D. Lee
Music by Stanley Clarke
Cinematography Frank Prinzi
Edited by Cara Silverman
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
October 22, 1999 (US)
Running time
120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $9 million[1]
Box office $34,573,780

The Best Man is a 1999 American romantic comedy-drama film, written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee. It was produced by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, with Lee's cousin, Spike Lee, serving as producer. The film stars Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut and Sanaa Lathan. A Christmas-themed sequel, The Best Man Holiday, was released on November 15, 2013 with a reunited cast.


Harper Stewart (Diggs) is a young man living in Chicago with his beautiful and devoted girlfriend Robin (Lathan). However, Harper, whose professional life is on the verge of a major breakthrough is hesitant about committing to a woman. Harper's debut novel, Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah's Book Club, a seal of approval that pretty much guarantees him a best seller.

Harper then travels to New York City, where his best friend Lance (Chestnut) is getting married to a young lady named Mia (Calhoun), who is also an old friend by Harper's, and where Jordan (Long), Harper's old what-could-have-been female friend, has obtained an advanced copy of his book and has been passing it around their inner circle of friends. Due to its autobiographical nature, Harper never intended for any of them to read "Unfinished Business" prior to the wedding, but they do and eventually this wretched version of his novel makes its way to the groom. To the disgust of Quentin (Howard), Harper goes to great lengths to prevent Lance from completing his read of "Unfinished Business", but on the night of the bachelor party, Lance does just that. He is able in infer from the book that Harper slept with Mia while they were all in college. After he hostilely confronts Harper, Lance calls off the wedding.

Meanwhile, in the subplot, Murch (Perrineau), also a friend of Harper's, is dealing with relationship issues. His longtime girlfriend Shelby (De Sousa) is trying to control his life, and Quentin tries to convince Murch to break up with her. Candy (Hall), one of the strippers who dances at Lance's bachelor party, plays a role in this part of the story.



The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. The film review website Allmovie gave the film 3/5 stars, with reviewer Jason Clark stating that while the film has "occasional moments of ripe humor, but it fails to say anything new about troubled weddings or the experience of being an upwardly mobile African-American looking for love."[2] At Metacritic, the film averaged a favorable 61% rating from critics.[3] Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 72% positive rating based on reviews by 71 critics, with the site's consensus stating "With a strong cast and a host of well-defined characters, The Best Man is an intelligent, funny romantic comedy that marks an impressive debut for writer/director Malcolm D. Lee."[4] The film has earned a B+ average from users at the Yahoo! Movies site.[5]

Made on a relatively small budget of nine million dollars, the film went on to make over $34,000,000, nearly four times as much as it cost to produce the picture, by the end of its theatrical run.[1]

The film received numerous awards and accolades. Terrence Howard's performance in particular earned much praise from many film critics, and in hindsight The Best Man is considered to be his breakout film. Later, he made the jump to other films and to the TV series Law and Order: Los Angeles. Jason Clark in his Allmovie review even stated that although Taye Diggs does well in his first true starring role, Howard "commands the screen with such abandon that one secretly wishes the film could have been all about his oddly captivating character". All eight of the principal cast members received nominations for the film at the 2000 NAACP Image Awards, with Howard and Nia Long winning. The film itself also won Outstanding Motion Picture.[citation needed]


The Best Man (soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released October 12, 1999
Recorded 1998-1999
Genre Hip hop, R&B
Length 62:45
Label Sony
Producer Bonnie Greenberg (exec.), Lisa Brown (exec.)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars [6]

The film's soundtrack, released October 12, 1999, peaked at number 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts, and number 16 on The Billboard 200 in 1999.

# Title Performers Time
1 "What You Want"* The Roots, Jaguar 4:16
2 "Let's Not Play the Game"* Maxwell 4:32
3 "After All Is Said and Done" Beyoncé, Marc Nelson 4:15
4 "Poetry Girl" Eric Benét 5:29
5 "Liar, Liar" Latocha Scott 4:41
6 "Best Man" Faith Evans 3:26
7 "Beautiful Girl" Kenny Lattimore 4:04
8 "Hit It Up" Sporty Thievz 3:39
9 "Turn Your Lights Down Low"* Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill 4:02
10 "Untitled" Me'shell Ndegeocello 4:08
11 "As My Girl" Maxwell 3:11
12 "Wherever You Go" Sygnature 5:31
13 "When the Shades Go Down" Allure 4:56
14 "The Best Man I Can Be"* Case, Ginuwine, RL, and Tyrese 6:29

(*): Indicates songs were released as singles

  • The song playing during the scene where Harper and Jordan almost make love in college is "As" by Stevie Wonder, from his classic 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life. It does not appear on the soundtrack album, but appears on the soundtrack for the sequel The Best Man Holiday covered by Anthony Hamilton and Marsha Ambrosius.
  • Also important to the plot of the film is the 1986 song "Candy" by Cameo (from the group's Word Up! album). Likewise, "Candy" does not appear on the soundtrack album for the film.
  • Although The Roots' "What You Want" plays over the opening credits, the lyrics are edited slightly. This is necessary because the version which appears on the soundtrack album contains a major plot spoiler.

Awards and nominations[edit]

2000 Black Reel Awards

  • Best Actor (Theatrical)—Taye Diggs (nominated)
  • Best Actress (Theatrical)—Nia Long (winner)
  • Best Director (Theatrical)—Malcolm D. Lee (winner)
  • Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted (Theatrical)—Malcolm D. Lee (winner)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Theatrical)—Terrence Howard (nominated)

2000 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

  • Most Promising Actor—Terrence Howard (nominated)

2000 Independent Spirit Awards

  • Best Supporting Male—Terrence Howard (nominated)

2000 NAACP Image Awards

  • Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture—Morris Chestnut (nominated)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture—Taye Diggs (nominated)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture—Monica Calhoun (nominated)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture—Nia Long (winner)
  • Outstanding Motion Picture (winner)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture—Harold Perrineau (nominated)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture—Terrence Howard (winner)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture—Melissa De Sousa (nominated)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture—Sanaa Lathan (nominated)


  1. ^ a b "The Best Man (1999)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  2. ^ Spike Lee (1999-10-22). "Allmovie Review". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  3. ^ "The Best Man". Metacritic. 1999-10-22. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  4. ^ "The Best Man". Flixster Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  5. ^ "The Best Man | Trailer and Cast - Yahoo! Movies". Retrieved 2012-06-13. [dead link]
  6. ^ Ruhlmann, William (1999-10-12). "The Best Man - Original Soundtrack : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 

External links[edit]