The Best Man (1999 film)
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|The Best Man|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Malcolm D. Lee|
|Written by||Malcolm D. Lee|
|Music by||Stanley Clarke|
|Edited by||Cara Silverman|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The Best Man is a 1999 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 and Nia Long. The film also served as 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 (Taye Diggs) is an up-and-coming author whose debut novel, Unfinished Business, has been selected by Oprah's Book Club. Harper's devoted girlfriend Robyn (Sanaa Lathan) 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 (Morris Chestnut), a running back for the New York Giants, and Mia (Monica Calhoun). Serving as best man, Harper reunites with his friends Murch (Harold Perrineau) and Jordan (Nia Long), who has passed an advanced 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 (Melissa De Sousa), and Harper chastises Quentin (Terrance Howard) 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 ways, 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 (Regina Hall), and Harper calls Jordan, accepting her invitation. Finding the book in Harper's coat, Lance reads it, realizing that Mia slept with Harper in college to get back at Lance for his numerous infidelities. Enraged, Lance attacks Harper 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 everything. Disappointed in him, 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 begs for Lance's forgiveness 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, earning his friends’ 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.
In a post-credit scene, Shelby and Quentin wake up in bed together, to their shock and disgust.
- Taye Diggs as Harper Stewart
- Nia Long as Jordan Armstrong
- Morris Chestnut as Lance Sullivan
- Harold Perrineau as Julian "Murch" Murchison
- Terrence Howard as Quentin Spivey
- Sanaa Lathan as Robyn
- Melissa De Sousa as Shelby
- Monica Calhoun as Mia Morgan
- Jim Moody as Uncle Skeeter
- Regina Hall as Candace "Candy" Sparks
- Jarrod Bunch as Wayne
- Victoria Dillard as Anita
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." At Metacritic, the film averaged a favorable 61% rating from critics. 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." The film has earned a B+ average from users at the Yahoo! Movies site.
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.
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 Empire (2015 TV series). 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.
|The Best Man - Music From The Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||October 12, 1999|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B|
|Label||Sony Music Entertainment|
|Producer||Bonnie Greenberg (exec.)|
Lisa Brown (exec.)
|Singles from The Best Man - Music From The Motion Picture|
|1.||"What You Want"||The Roots featuring Jaguar||4:16|
|2.||"Let's Not Play the Game"||Maxwell||4:31|
|3.||"After All Is Said and Done"||Beyoncé and Marc Nelson||4:15|
|4.||"Poetry Girl"||Eric Benét||4:28|
|5.||"Lair, Lair"||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 and Lauryn Hill||4:02|
|11.||"As My Girl"||Maxwell||4:11|
|12.||"Wherever You Go"||Sygnature featuring Simbi Khali||5:31|
|13.||"When the Shades Go Down"||Allure||4:56|
|14.||"The Best Man I Can Be"||Ginuwine, RL, Tyrese and Case||6:29|
- 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.
|US Billboard 200||16|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||2|
Awards and nominations
- 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)
- Most Promising Actor—Terrence Howard (nominated)
- Best Supporting Male—Terrence Howard (nominated)
- 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 (1999)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. 2002-08-28. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Spike Lee (1999-10-22). "Allmovie Review". Allmovie.com. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "The Best Man". Metacritic. 1999-10-22. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "The Best Man". Flixster Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "The Best Man | Trailer and Cast - Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- Ruhlmann, William (1999-10-12). "The Best Man - Original Soundtrack : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-06-13.
- "SOUNDTRACK Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
- "SOUNDTRACK Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-05-10.