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'Best Man: The Final Chapters' review: Malcolm D. Lee's Peacock series hits familiar ground

Harper Stewart, the ambitious, opinionated protagonist of the Malcolm D. Lee Best Man series of movies, whose decision-making abilities are always questionable, Bad timing.

In the film of the same name 22, the young writer, written by Taye Diggs, avoid telling his best friend Lance(Morris Chestnut) that he Sleeps with his fiancée (Monica Calhoun) in college until a few days before the couple’s wedding (Harper is best man). The news threatens the wedding and the stability of the friendship circle, forcing Harper to work his magic at the last minute. In The Best Man Holiday (2013) than its after school special Formerly, Harper secretly tried to convince a still angry Lance to hire him as biographer, while trying to support his pregnant wife Robin (Sanaa Lathan) .

Best Man: Final Chapter

The Bottom Line The end of the struggle for the energy of the beginning.

Air date: Thursday, December (Peacock)
Cast: Morris Chestnut, Melissa De Sousa, Taye Diggs , Regina Hall , Terrence Howard , Sana Raison, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau creator: Malcolm D. Lee

The lessons Harper learns after every narrow victory never seem to stick, nothing compares to The Best Man: The Final Chapters A more pronounced, steady 8-episode miniseries as the franchise’s epilogue. Fifteen years after the events of The Best Man , Harper still navigates his ambitions, his marriage, and parenting with a familiar and frustrating awkwardness. His friends are facing their own problems: Lance, Quentin (Terrence Howard), Murch (Harold Perrineau), Jordan (Nia Lang), Candy (Regina Ho Leo) and Shelby (Melissa DeSousa) have entered adulthood, and that’s a merry-go-round of breakups, professional highs, personal lows, and existential crises.

Lee brings his beloved characters — characters who helped launch the careers of a talented group of black performers — into a new decade of their lives. The Final Chapters Sweet nostalgia, like Sex and the City RebootAnd Just Like That , looking at the misadventures of these characters in middle age. When Lee introduced the college gang to the world on the cusp of the new millennium, aspiring bourgeois black figures were poorly represented. The industry is still lacking in diversity and unable to shake off its inherent hostility toward black performers. In the years since, several TV shows (Insecure, Harlem,Run the World) inherited and transformed the models of The Best Man, Living Single and others. But The Final Chapters isn’t appealing to the recently adventurous audience; it’s trying to grow with the originalbest man demographic.

The franchise now includes Insecure‘s Dayna Lynne North as a performer, adding to the richer plot by bringing women into this friend group. Jordan is a newsroom executive looking for ways to manage her stress and take better care of herself. Robyn hopes to combine her passion for community organizing with her work as a caterer. Shelby , a Real Housewives alumnus, got the entrepreneurial mistake and started her own business. Candy worked on her graduate degree while helping her husband, Murch, manage their growing charter schools. The added screen time gives Lathan, De Sousa, Long and the incomparable Hall the chance to explore their characters and give them even greater dimensions.

Despite the larger roles of women, the emotional core of the series remains the friendship between the four men who started it all. Harper, Lance, Quentin, and Murch reflect different characteristics of the older, more conservative black professional class. Their focus has shifted from sex and marriage to protecting their inheritance, acquiring generational wealth, fighting corporate racism, caring for aging parents and trying to make sense of their volatile teens. Conversations — about life, about being black in America — take place over poker nights, with director of photography DP Greg Gardiner’s camera panning as everyone gruffly acknowledges their annoyances and brings up obsessions their problem. How do they define themselves now? What dreams did they have that didn’t come true? What opportunities did they pass up? What blessing do they wish to celebrate?

The Final Chapters revolve around these new things and some old things. The temptation to commit to ritual (poker night, book club, dinner with friends), say goodbye to the past, and give up on yourself is at the heart of most of the plot. The first episode, “Paradise,” begins with a brisk montage that wraps up the first two films before kicking off two years after the best man’s vacation . Quentin’s decision to get married may have been partly due to Mia asking who would take care of him on his deathbed. His fiancée, international model and icon Xiomara (Nicole Ari Parker), gets the alcoholic, fast-talking Lothario to quit drinking and start meditating. The transformation leaves Quentin with a disturbing self-seriousness that Harper fears immediately upon arriving in St. Pierre, the site of the fictional wedding.

The first three episodes used The Best Man and some of The Best Man Holiday bawdy, Contagious, giving a fresh illusion. For the most part, these guys take the same characters as in the movie and try to determine if Quentin made a mistake. After the dust settled from a recent wedding, the series struggled to find a foothold. Too many storylines and an eager desire to give each character a chance leads to uneven pacing and leads that inspire déjà vu. In “Paradise,” Harper must face his friends again with a proposal to exploit their lives: his first novel – the series’ prologue and the group’s troubles – is being made into a A movie, he hopes to have their blessing. Despite some signs of growth, Harper still struggles to be candid about her ambitions and honest about her commitments. The same journey is difficult once, let alone three times.

The final chapter promises a kind of character development that is only partially fulfilled. Part of this can be attributed to the tendency to tidy up big conversations with pat-down comments and quick expository conversations. The interactions between the characters lose the warmth of the earlier films, taking on a more typical calmness of friendly strangers. A few moments in later episodes manage to restore the familiar energy that made the franchise so beloved, but it’s hard to shake off the feeling that something is missing.



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