By Gen Terblanche26 October 2023
Regina Hall of fame: 8 shows and movies starring the comedy legend
Regina Hall made her leap onto the big screen when she landed her first-ever film role as Candy in the 1999 smash-hit comedy The Best Man – now still going strong with the recent release of follow-up series The Best Man: The Final Chapters.
Today she’s a comedy legend, so when Adamma Ebo was writing her film Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, she knew exactly what she was looking for in the role of the pastor’s wife, and she described Trinitie as a “Regina Hall” type. Elegant but not afraid to be weird. Funny but real. The boss, but also the fool.
Just check out our Regina Hall of fame below to see some of the roles that made her an icon.
Luckily for Adamma, Regina herself snapped up the role in Honk for Jesus for herself. In this mockumentary from Adamma and executive producers Daniel Kaluuya and Jordan Peele (who worked on Get Out and Nope together), Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K Brown, Randall Pearson in This Is Us) and his wife Trinitie are a power couple until their congregation flees following a massive scandal. Now a documentary camera crew is following their efforts to win back the faithful.
While Trinitie especially wants to come across as an ideal wife in a perfect marriage, the crew captures Lee-Curtis undermining her at every step with his showboating (wait till you see Regina capering about in actual white-face clown makeup on his orders) – along with the couple’s greed and vanity, with gold thrones and walk-in wardrobes.
While Regina lays on Trinitie’s mixture of self-centred obliviousness and nervous awareness of the camera to great comic effect, she can also play into Trinitie’s broken-hearted humanity, betrayal and pain when needed. And she’ll look good doing it in her Sunday Best, or in her more “casual” rainbow collection of Prada suits for everyday wear, thanks to head of wardrobe Lorraine Coppin (who kept the cast of megachurch drama series Greenleaf looking fresh).
Regina’s first-ever movie role was playing Candace “Candy” Sparks, the stripper who falls in love with Murch (Harold Perrineau) during the bachelor party for Lance (Morris Chestnut) and Mia’s (Monica Calhoun) wedding in the original Best Man film in 1999. Imagine that as your first day on the job! Regina later revealed that she had no idea what to do at the audition and just slapped her bottom in a saucy way, then said thank you and left when they asked her whether she could do anything else. Candace’s relationship with Murch puts her at odds with his chaotic former girlfriend, Shelby (Melissa De Sousa), leading Regina’s first-ever on-screen “cat fight” scene with Melissa.
The Best Man mini-series sees Candace and Murch’s quarrelling when he becomes obsessed with “emasculation” and chasing male approval after he takes on the bulk of housework and childcare while Candace works on her dissertation. But they’re generally the most stable, sensible couple of the lot.
Throughout the films and the series, Regina brings a matter-of-fact “yes, and what?” energy to Candace that squashes the idea that anyone can hold her stripper past over her head. That’s Regina’s range for you – saucy stripper Candy, and sensible schoolmarm Candace all in one, yes ma’am!
Imagine the Boss B energy you have to bring to the screen to hold your own in a shot with Queen Latifah (The Equalizer), Jada Pinkett Smith (Magic Mike XXL), and Tiffany Haddish (The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent)! Best Man creator Malcolm D Lee knew what he was doing when he tapped Regina to step out of the sidekick role and into the spotlight as his leading lady, though. Just watch her preparing to drink a lit candle thinking it’s a shot of alcohol during the wild afterparty scene!
In this slapstick, road trip buddy comedy movie, Regina plays lifestyle guru Ryan Pierce, aka “the next Oprah”, who invites her best friends along with her when she heads for New Orleans as the keynote seeker at the Essence Festival. Along with all the silly comedy chops, Regina makes Ryan incredibly human, so whether she’s boasting about her success to cover up the fact that her marriage is a flop, being the sister we’d love to love, or getting unexpectedly real with a room full of ambitious business women about the lie in her book title You CAN Have It All, Regina makes us say yes to hanging out with Ryan – even in her shady boots moods.
Regina makes her entrance into the Barbershop comedy movie franchise as Angie, a fast-talking stylist working with her business partner Calvin (Ice Cube, also hilarious in the Friday movies) as the head of the new women’s side of the shop (her staff includes Nicki Minaj) Now that the wall has come down between the two salons, the debates of the day, the banter and the dance breaks are at a whole new level.
Chicago’s gang violence is knocking at the door despite the Barbershop’s position as neutral territory, though. And Calvin’s son Jalen (Power’s Michael Rainey Jr) is feeling the allure of thug life. After tragedy strikes, Calvin wants to sell up and move his business North, but Angie is going to play the good angel who shows him what losing the Barbershop would do to their community’s chances of survival.
Whether she’s laying edges or laying into outdated views about what women want, being petty or pretty, Regina brings a cutting wit and timing to Barbershop.
Pushy (she literally shoves people out of her way) tech mogul Jordan Sanders (Regina Hall) is an absolute monster to her staff … until the day that she’s cursed to wake up in her 13-year-old body, played by Marsai Martin (Diane in Black-ish). While Jordan is sent back to school to learn a lesson or two, her assistant April (Issa Rae) has to take over at work. And now that April is (kind of) the boss of Jordan, she gets to tell her what she really thinks of her demonic behaviour. Meanwhile for Jordan, it’s a chance to get in touch with the bullied little girl she was, and a break from the constant need to fight for her place in the tech world as a Black woman. All seriousness aside, it’s worth seeing just for the sight of 13-year-old Jordan dominating the nerd table at school lunch while dressed in her cutting edge office lady wardrobe, and for seeing Marsai’s uncanny take on Regina’s performance.
Marsai pitched the original idea for the movie to Black-ish creator Kenya Barris when she was just 10 years old. And Regina was a natural fit as she’d worked with Kenya and Little’s other writer, Tracy Oliver, on Barbershop: The Next Cut and Girls Trip.
After her cheating husband Karl (Matthew Modine) dies of a heart attack, his downtrodden doormat wife Sue Buttons (Allison Janney) hides his body and fakes his kidnapping to attract the attention of her tabloid reporter half-sister Nancy (Mila Kunis), and trashy talk show host Gloria Michaels (Yellowjackets’ Juliette Lewis). How does Regina Hall come into this? She’s mullet-wearing Detective Cam Harris, the suspicious cop who just knows that this crazy lady is up to no good.
To see Issa Rae and Regina Hall together again after Little, hop over to Insecure Season 2. Regina plays Ninny, the enslaved woman in love with her master, Master Turnfellow (Scott Foley) in Insecure’s ongoing parody prestige TV show-within-a-show Due North. Issa is obsessed with this series, which has hints of Kerry Washingston’s series, Scandal, Harriet Tubman drama Underground, and record label drama Empire, throughout the season. We have to love a TV show that admits that we’re TV obsessed!
The Griswold family are on the road again in this revival of the long-running National Lampoon Vacation series of movies. In a star-studded cast, Regina and Keegan-Michael Key play Nancy and Jack Peterson, friends to Griswold husband and wife Rusty (Ed Helms) and Debbie (Anchorman’s Christina Applegate). Watch for the moment when Nancy confronts her bestie Debbie about why Debbie didn’t like any of the pictures of Nancy’s fancy trip to Paris that she posted on Instagram. She has the receipts, and she’s not letting this go.
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