“The Best Man” is the flip side of “Runaway Bride”: a comic portrait of a mild-mannered guy whose life is shattered when he’s ditched at the altar. Charming, if slight, comedy is too low-key to run away with much B.O. cash, but it does showcase the writing of newcomers John Newcombe and John Hines.Three years after being stood up, Adam (Newcombe) is trying to sell his comic strip to newspapers and still can’t make it through a wedding ceremony without becoming violently ill. Editor Jimmy (John Hines) forces him to confront his anxiety: He’ll ink a major deal for the strip on the condition that Adam be best man at his nuptials. Remainder of pic follows the reluctant Adam and his girlfriend (Grace Phillips) on their trip to small-town Indiana for the wedding from hell. Much of the humor sends up the wedding-party hicks, an approach that wears thin. Pacing is a tad slow, but there are enough funny moments to keep things interesting. Lead thesps are good, particularly helmer Newcombe in a warm , nuanced perf. Score veers to the sappy side of the pop spectrum.
A Lovestruck Pictures production. Produced by Mark Klitsie, John Newcombe. Directed by John Newcombe. Screenplay, Newcombe, John Hines.
Camera (color), Wes Llewellyn; editor, Scott Popjes, Steve Waller; music, Craig Stuart Garfienkle. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (World Cinema), Sept. 2, 1999. Running time: 86 MIN.
Grace Phillips, John Newcombe, John Hines, Oksana Fedunyszyn, Michael Beattie, Tim Farmer, David Jeremiah, Al Leinonen, William Holmes, Mark McCracken.