November 01, 1999 12:00 PM

Taye Diggs, Nia Long

Featured attraction

Memo to would-be novelists: Write what you know, but if you slept with your best friend’s girl back in college and never told him, don’t confess all in your first book unless you do a really good job of disguising everyone. Harper (Diggs), the fledgling novelist who is the protagonist of this agreeable romantic comedy, hasn’t done so, and it could get him into big trouble when he heads to Manhattan for his best friend’s bachelor party and wedding. If his old buddy (Morris Chestnut), a jealous pro football star, finds out about the affair before the wedding, everybody might just as well boil the rice.

With its plot about ex-college pals working through old tensions and romantic longings, The Best Man puts an updated, African-American spin on The Big Chill. The movie is slow to start and rambles toward the end but overall it marks a sprightly debut for writer-director Malcolm D. Lee (cousin to Spike). Everyone in the ensemble cast gets a chance to shine, but those who do so most brightly are sexy Diggs (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) and scene-stealer Terrence Howard, who is hilarious as an amorous cad. (R)

Bottom Line: A wedding party worth joining

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