* * ½
(Long soap opera sequel)
Even Joyce the Romantic found this long soap opera sequel a little too much. Once again, moviemakers are under the assumption that you can make a sequel to a movie that just about everyone has forgotten about. In this case, it is 14 years.
We “catch up” with a group of college friends who have gotten on with their lives, reuniting to spend Christmas together. There are just too many characters to follow, and they all bring too much baggage with them. Host and hostess for the reunion are Lance, a New York Giants football star (Morris Chestnut) and his wife Mia (Monica Calhoun), who has a life-threatening disease. The group gathers for a few days at their mansion, where bitter rivalries, sexual secrets and complicated relationships all slowly surface.
Taye Diggs is Harper, the one-book wonder, looking for another bestseller and contemplating a biography about Lance. There’s one big problem: Lance is carrying one big grudge for an incident that happened a long time ago. Sanna Lathan plays his very pregnant wife.
And they are just half of the group and only a smithering of the problems and bad blood that slowly spurts out, intertwines and makes for enough material for a year-long TV series. The “I’ve Got a Secret” plot gets more and more complicated, with people either shouting each other down or not speaking to each other at all.
A tragic turn of events brings them all together, as we reach the two-hour mark and result to the “circle of life” theme for some resolution. It’s a bit too much, in spite of some good acting by a mainly black cast of very talented actors. Surprise in this one is Terrence Howard, who usually plays serious roles, but adds some much needed comic relief.
Rated R, with profanity, sex and a little nudity.