The Best Man (1999 film)

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The Best Man
The Best Man (1999 film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMalcolm D. Lee
Written byMalcolm D. Lee
Produced by
CinematographyFrank Prinzi
Edited byCara Silverman
Music byStanley Clarke
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • October 22, 1999 (1999-10-22)
Running time
120 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$9 million[1]
Box office$34.5 million[1]

The Best Man is a 1999 American 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 an ensemble cast led by Taye Diggs and Nia Long, with the debut of Regina Hall.

A Christmas-themed sequel, The Best Man Holiday, was released on November 15, 2013 with a reunited cast.


In Chicago, Harper Stewart is an up-and-coming author whose debut novel, Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah's Book Club. Harper's devoted girlfriend Robyn is frustrated by his unwillingness to commit to her.

Harper travels to New York City to spend the weekend with old friends from college, before they all attend the wedding of Lance Sullivan, a running back for the New York Giants, and Mia Morgan. Serving as best man, Harper reunites with his friends Julian "Murch" Murchison and Jordan Armstrong, who has passed an advance copy of Unfinished Business around their inner circle of friends – upon whom the book is based.

None of the friends approve of Murch's domineering girlfriend Shelby, and Harper chastises Quentin Spivey for being unable to settle down in a job. The weekend reveals that Quentin has always been a free spirit, Lance has renounced his womanizing behavior, Harper is unsure about remaining a bachelor, and Murch has never been able to keep a secret. Flashbacks to their college days reveal that Lance met Mia through Harper, who almost slept with Jordan. Quentin antagonizes Lance about Mia, whom Lance believes has never been with another man. Learning Lance has a copy of his book, Harper worries he will discover that Harper and Mia had a one-night stand in college.

Confronting Harper about their mutual attraction, Jordan admits she wants to have sex with him that night, before Robyn arrives for the wedding the next day, and they share a kiss. Lance confronts Harper in the bathroom, but merely thanks him for his friendship; they are interrupted before Harper can come clean. As the groomsmen depart for the bachelor party, Jordan invites Harper to meet her later, and Murch finally stands up to Shelby.

At the party, Harper steals Lance's copy of Unfinished Business, to the disgust of Quentin, who has deduced Harper's secret. As the party gets increasingly drunk, Murch falls for one of the strippers, Candy, and Harper calls Jordan, accepting her invitation. Finding the book in Harper's coat, Lance reads it and finds out the truth, realizing that Mia slept with Harper in college to get back at Lance for his numerous infidelities. Enraged, Lance attacks Harper for his betrayal and almost throws him off the balcony, but Quentin talks him down, and Lance calls off the wedding.

A badly beaten Harper arrives at Jordan's apartment. He blames her for circulating the book, but Jordan berates him for airing his own dirty laundry and leading her on. The next day, Harper meets Robyn at the airport. She notices his injuries, and Harper confesses. Disappointed, Robyn prepares to leave, but Harper declares how much he needs her, and she reluctantly agrees to help him save the wedding.

Arriving at the church with Candy, Murch breaks up with Shelby. Lance arrives, and his friends try desperately to stop him before he can tell his parents the wedding is off. Harper – who has never agreed with Lance's religious devotion – halts him by asking him to pray. While Robyn and Jordan tend to Mia, who is oblivious to the previous night's events, Harper manages to reason with Lance after much difficulty and assures him of his and Mia's love. After forcing Harper to pray with him, a tearful Lance proceeds with the wedding.

Harper gives a heartfelt speech praising Mia and Lance's love that visibly moves the couple, earning Lance's forgiveness. Shelby pushes a bridesmaid out of the way to seize the bouquet, while Quentin catches the garter. Jordan finds closure with Harper, telling him Robyn is the woman for him. On the dance floor, Harper thanks Robyn for her help and, in front of the entire wedding party asks her to marry him; she says yes. The film ends as everyone dances the electric slide to the song "Candy" by Cameo.

In a post-credit scene, Shelby and Quentin wake up in bed together, to their shock and disgust.



The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. The website AllMovie gave the film 3/5 stars, with reviewer Jason Clark stating that 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] The film has earned a B+ average from users at the Yahoo! Movies site.[3]

Howard's performance in particular earned much praise from film critics, and The Best Man is considered to be his breakout film.[4][5] Jason Clark of AllMovie stated Howard "commands the screen with such abandon that one secretly wishes the film could have been all about his oddly captivating character".[2]

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."[6] At Metacritic, the film averaged a favorable 61% rating from 30 critics.[7]

Box office[edit]

Produced on a relatively small budget of $9 million, the film went on to make over $34 million by the end of its theatrical run.[1]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film received numerous awards and accolades. All eight principal cast members received nominations at the 2000 NAACP Image Awards, with wins for Howard and Long, and for Outstanding Motion Picture.

2000 Black Reel Awards[8]

  • 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[9]

  • Best Supporting Male—Terrence Howard (nominated)

2000 NAACP Image Awards[10][11]

  • 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)


The Best Man - Music From The Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedOctober 12, 1999
GenreHip hop, R&B
ProducerBonnie Greenberg (exec.)
Lisa Brown (exec.)
Singles from The Best Man - Music From The Motion Picture
  1. "Let's Not Play the Game"
    Released: October 12, 1999
  2. "The Best Man I Can Be"
    Released: October 29, 1999
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic [12]

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

Track listing[edit]

The Best Man: Music from the Motion Picture
1."What You Want"The Roots featuring Jaguar4:16
2."Let's Not Play the Game"Maxwell4:31
3."After All Is Said and Done"Beyoncé and Marc Nelson4:15
4."Poetry Girl"Eric Benét5:28
5."Liar, Liar"LaTocha Scott4:41
6."Best Man"Faith Evans3:26
7."Beautiful Girl"Kenny Lattimore4:04
8."Hit It Up"Sporty Thievz3:39
9."Turn Your Lights Down Low"Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill4:02
10."Untitled"Meshell Ndegeocello4:08
11."As My Girl"Maxwell4:11
12."Wherever You Go"Sygnature featuring Simbi Khali5:31
13."When the Shades Go Down"Allure4:56
14."The Best Man I Can Be"Ginuwine, RL, Tyrese and Case6:29


  • 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.

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
US Billboard 200[13] 16
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[14] 2


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


In 2013, Lee wrote and directed a sequel to The Best Man titled The Best Man Holiday. Chestnut, Diggs, Hall, Howard, Lathan, Long, Perrineau, Calhoun and De Sousa returned from the first film. It received positive reviews.

In February 2021, Peacock gave a limited series order to a follow-up consisting of ten episodes. The Best Man: The Final Chapters is created by Lee and Dayna Lynne North, who also serve as executive producers. Chestnut, Diggs, Hall, Howard, Lathan, Long, Perrineau and De Sousa are set to reprise their roles.[16] The 8-episode series is scheduled to premiere on December 22, 2022.[17]


  1. ^ a b c "The Best Man (1999)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  2. ^ a b "The Best Man (1999)". AllMovie. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  3. ^ "The Best Man | Trailer and Cast - Yahoo! Movies". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  4. ^ "Great role: Terrence Howard in The Best Man". February 17, 2006. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  5. ^ "The Cast of The Best Man : Where Are They Now?". BET. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  6. ^ "The Best Man". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  7. ^ "The Best Man". Metacritic. 1999-10-22. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  8. ^ "Past Winners - 2000". Black Reel Awards. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  9. ^ ""Election," "Limey" Up for Indie Oscars". E! Online. January 13, 2000. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  10. ^ "The 31st NAACP Image Awards Nominees List".
  11. ^ Cane, Clay (October 22, 2010). "This Day in Film: 'The Best Man'". BET. Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  12. ^ Ruhlmann, William (1999-10-12). "The Best Man - Original Soundtrack : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
  13. ^ "SOUNDTRACK Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  14. ^ "SOUNDTRACK Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  15. ^ "American album certifications – Soundtrack – The Best Man". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 9, 2021). "'The Best Man' Limited Series With Original Cast Ordered By Peacock From Malcolm D. Lee & Dayna Lynne North". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  17. ^ Hatchett, Keisha (October 29, 2022). "The Best Man Reunion Series Unveils First Teaser — Plus, See New Photos". TVLine. Retrieved October 29, 2022.

External links[edit]