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Guess Who (2005)
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Review Date: March 23, 2005
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Writer: David Ronn, Jay Sherick, Peter Tolan
Producers: Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac, Jason Goldberg…
Actors:
Ashton Kutcher as Simon
Bernie Mac as Percy
Zoe Saldana as Theresa
Plot:
A white guy is about to meet the black parents of his girlfriend and is, understandably, a little nervous about it. It isn’t long after his initial meeting with the surprised daddy that our boy realizes that he hasn’t particularly impressed the man, and gets even more edgy about the whole thing. What ensues are a number of misunderstandings, many of which involve humor underlined by the two races showcased in the film.
Critique:
I think that comedies are the “hardest” movies to review because one’s enjoyment of said films may depend on a variety of factors, many of which are not necessarily related to the actual movie, including your “mood” on a certain day, your attraction/affection for a certain actor/actress, your ability to relate to the particular humorous core of the film and…well, let’s face it, the “type” of humor that makes you laugh. In the case of this film, I was in a “so-so” mood before seeing it (wasn’t expecting much, to be honest with you), I’m a fan of the film’s stars in Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac, I was pretty sick of movies featuring married-couples-to-be meeting their in-laws (or films which played the whole “black and white” jokes up) and I generally like most types of humor. Now while this movie certainly didn’t break any records for originality (it’s a remake and essentially just copies MEET THE PARENTS, but with an African-American angle), I found myself laughing pretty consistently the whole way through, in various forms of guffaws, chuckles, smiles, big laughs and even a couple of taps of the hands together. Yes, Kutcher and Mac came through in their respective parts, and even more importantly, in their chemistry together.

Much like the aforementioned movie, this one has little to do with the girl/boy couple, as much as it did the son-in-law-to-be meeting dear ol’ daddie dickhead. And who better to play the “angry black man” but Bernie Mac, an actor who I’ve been praising since OCEAN’S 11 and hoping would eventually break out in a film deserved of his comedic talents. His character’s dry and sarcastic nature was ideal for Mac and he comes through gangbusters here. Kutcher also gets raked over the coals by way too many people off-screen (many of which are likely really annoyed by his PUNK’D persona), but I like the guy. I think he’s personable, funny, cute and he’s definitely got a physical comedic thing happening that cracks me up. Yes, a number of the film’s jokes are in the trailer (and the whole black/white songs playing on the radio was terribly contrived and unfunny), but unlike other movies, it’s got a whole lot more in there as well, in fact…that’s what I liked most about this film…it was consistent. It wasn’t until its final half hour (it did run a little too long), that things got a little “sentimental”, that the jokes stopped for a little while, but otherwise, I just couldn’t help but laugh anytime Mac came on the screen and eye-balled our man.

Sure, the film plays on the stereotypes, but it doesn’t feature them in that stupid BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE way. It actually has the characters discussing, laughing and speaking directly about those attitudes (“Go ahead…tell me some black jokes.”), which made it a little more than your typical Hollywood schlock. Heck, I even bought the romance between Kutcher and the adorable Zoe Saldana, and thought they were damn cute together! In the end though, as I mentioned off the top, you’re likely to enjoy your time with these folks depending on your mood of the day, your appreciation of the two lead actors and your enjoyment of this “type” of comedy (thank God the soundtrack wasn’t littered with hip-hop crap), and I for one, had a good time and walked out with a smile. And in the end, I don’t think one can really ask for much more from any comedy. PS: If this film actually does break big bank, please – and yes, I’ll even say “pleaze” – do not make a sequel to it entitled GUESS WHO’S HAVING A BABY or some shit. Just let it go, man.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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