Like many things you’ll be consuming in cinemas and at your dinner table over the next several weeks, “The Best Man Holiday” is warm, mushy, and underdone, yet undeniably made with love. Written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee (a sequel to his minor 1999 hit “The Best Man”), it’s “The Big Chill” meets Tyler Perry as upscale African-American friends reunite at Christmastime for laughter, tears, a little bit of Christianity, and a steady supply of old wounds to pick at.
Everyone’s got a subplot — the author (Taye Diggs) needs a book topic; the NFL star (Morris Chestnut) is considering retirement; the school administrator (Harold Perrineau) is embarrassed by video of his ex-stripper wife (Regina Hall); the hard-working TV exec (Nia Long) won’t commit to her boyfriend; the gold-digger (Melissa De Sousa) has become a reality TV star — and just for good measure there’s cancer and a pregnancy, too. Terrence Howard provides laughs as the outspoken, pot-smoking, unattached male member of the group; the rest of the movie is good-natured light melodrama that runs too long but pushes some of the right buttons.
C+ (2 hrs.; )