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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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The Best Man Holiday

Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Nia Long | R |


Call Best Man Holiday a buddy-comedy-meets-Christmas movie. It’ll definitely make you laugh—and remind you how faith, love and friendship help overcome adversity. There’s nothing wrong with that combination, but there’s a shocking twist about an hour into the movie that feels like a sucker punch after all the funny stuff. (Just bring tissues.) An opening montage catches you up on what the college friends from the original Best Man have been doing over the past 15 years: Lance (Morris Chestnut) is a football superstar, Harper (Diggs) is a down-on-his-luck author, Julian (Harold Perrineau) is settled with kids, while Terrence Howard revives his scene-stealing role as stoner perv Quentin. The friends reunite to spend Christmas weekend together, and through all the hilarity and drama comes the realization that no matter what happens, as long as your old friends are on your side, you can get through anything. It’s ultimately uplifting, but you might be surprised at how emotional you feel afterward.


Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb | R |


There’s no talking Woody Grant (Dern) out of the damned fool notion that he’s won a million-dollar sweepstakes. So his son David (Forte) does the only thing he can: drive the old drunk from Montana to the prize office in Nebraska. Director Alexander Payne (The Descendants) sends the film on a side trip to Woody’s creaky hometown, where family is buried but the past isn’t quite. There’s no hurry to get anywhere, but gosh is Nebraska funny while it dawdles, with Squibb a stitch as Woody’s spiky wife, Kate. As for Dern, he’s the picture of addled, angry old age. It’s a marvelous turn for an actor who’s had more than a few.