Guess Who (DVD)

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Guess Who (DVD)

This new take on the 1967 drama GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER puts a comedic spin on interracial dating. Bernie Mac (THE BERNIE MAC SHOW) co-stars as P...

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Review of "Guess Who (DVD)"

published 21/08/2010 | thedevilinme
Member since : 13/05/2008
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"Guess who's not laughing..."

Toy boy girls?

Toy boy girls?

A lot has changed since Katherine Houghton brought Sidney Poitier home to meet Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the 1967 classic, 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner'. As modern America is about to elect a black president and so much more relaxed about inter-racial relationships then why not a spot of role reversal some 40 years on with a white guy, Ashton Kutcher the partner-in-come, here visiting his girlfriends black middle class family for the time, they oblivious to his skin color before the meet etc. It's a good idea in principal and with the success of Meet the parents this century I gave it a look, but I quickly found out why I hadn't rented it before and waited for it to be on telly. Considering where this film could have gone this is major disappointment. I suppose the biggest question of all here is -- what was it like for Ashton Kutcher when Demi Moore bought him home to meet the folks!

There's a genre called 'Black Comedy, which equates to well observed and subtle movies with a knowing sense of humor, which I hoped this might be, where as comedies involving predominately black cast are generally the exact opposite for some reason, often derivative and patronizing to its target audience, which I presume are smart enough not to watch those films. So it was with great trepidation that I watched this last week on TV, the fact it was broadcast on C4 suggesting it would be more of a black comedy rather than the later. C4 tend to only run interesting movies on the Sunday night slot and some sort of stamp of approval. The verdict was someone in between.

The warning signs were there it wouldn't be great with the casting of Ashton Kutcher playing himself - a two dimensional cardboard cut out character. The goggle-eyed Bernie Mac (an excellent radical black comedian from Saturday Night Live,but sadly died last year) is much livelier on screen and looks unsure throughout this if he could improvise and let rip on the white folks in the movie that tackles subjects like inter-race relationships he's so hot on in his stage act. I think it would have been a far sharper film if he had. There are some moments in this that are interesting and not what you were expecting, none more so than the slightly uncomfortable dinner party scene where Kutchers character is egged on to tell racist black jokes at a table full of black people. But apart from that and the odd set piece if really does chicken out on the subject matter and suitably dumbed down to appeal to a popcorn multiplex demographic that are as equally nervous laughing at race humor. This is an odd American movie in many ways.

-The Cast-

Bernie Mac ... Percy Jones
Ashton Kutcher ... Simon Green
Zoë Saldana ... Theresa Jones
Judith Scott ... Marilyn Jones
Hal Williams ... Howard Jones
Kellee Stewart ... Keisha Jones
Paula Newsome ... Darlene
Sherri Shepherd ... Sydney
Robert Curtis Brown ... Dante

-The Plot-

Ashton Kutcher plays Simon Green, a twenty something city high-flyer who is about to propose to his beautiful girlfriend Theresa Jones (Zoë Saldana) at her family home at the weekend. But they have never met him before and over protective dad Percy (Bernie Mac) is not best pleased he's white, presuming all along his daughter would only date her own. After the couple pull up at the family home and the obvious taxi joke is played out before dad realizes her daughter is dating a white boy, the racial politics soon begin as you can here the gentle crunch of egg shells underneath Kutchers Hushpuppies...
Zoë is determined mum and dad will like Simon, whilst Percy has other ideas, soon trapping him with racial mantraps in a likewise laid minefield to undermine him in the family home.Percey is far more racist than Simon and stuck in the 60s. If he can get Zoë can see Simons just like all the other white folks then he can break them up and find someone more appropriate and black for his precious daughter.

Percy soon kicks his future son-in-law out for minor misdemeanor, sent to the nearest hotel for being caught in a compromising position with his daughter as all seems lost. But then the film goes into buddy mode, the women tiring of the boy's racial antics, the guys soon bonding in the family homes basement where they have been relegated to by their women, alone to sort out their differences. Percy is determined to libel him a not the man for Zoë whilst Simon is determined to propose to the girls he loves, Percy in the driving seat when he discovers Simons thrown his high-flying job in, the only reason he wanted to meet him in the first place.


-Trivia (courtesies of imdb.com!)

At an estimated cost of $100,000, digital effects were used to remove Ashton Kutcher's red Kabbalah bracelet in every scene in which he appeared, but can still be clearly seen when he is drinking coffee in the "breakfast scene."

-Conclusions-

Director Kevin Sullivan comments on the blurb that his reasons for making this were: "I have a 12-and-a-half-year-old daughter who's beautiful, and I'm sure she's going to come home one day with some Lithuanian, Samoan, punk-rock drummer dude, and I thought if I did this movie I'd be able to work out my issues before that day comes." Well he didn't work out his issues and perhaps owning up to having issues over race was the worst decision he made, apart from making this. It really did fall flat half-way through and Kutcher looks uncomfortably in a movie that has clearly been hacked down by the censors so not to offended, which is the biggest irony here. America may be ready for a black president but they still tip-toe around the real arguments over race on celluloid. This just plays it safe and laughs away the obvious tensions there are over inter-racial marriages, but sadly there's not enough of those laughs. Kutcher himself (Jewish by birth) suggested it would be interesting to make his character Jewish in the film to add inter-faith issue too, but the director cried off saying it would be too hard to make it work. Hard work is a suitable tag-line to describe this derivative muddle.

-Ratings-

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Imdb.com scores it 5.60 out of 10:0 (10,635)
105 Minutes?
Young adults
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Comments on this review

  • danielclark691 published 24/11/2015
    well reviewed
  • BlurredLines published 07/07/2015
    I refuse to watch anything starring Ashton Kutcher, the most wooden actor of his generation
  • rolandrat123 published 05/12/2014
    interesting
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Product Information : Guess Who (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

This new take on the 1967 drama GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER puts a comedic spin on interracial dating. Bernie Mac (THE BERNIE MAC SHOW) co-stars as Percy Jones, a wealthy black banker who has an overbearing love for his family. Percy is about to host a lavish party at his sprawling New Jersey home in celebration of his 25-year wedding anniversary to Marilyn (Judith Scott, FLIGHT PLAN). His daughter Theresa (Zoe Saldana, THE TERMINAL) is coming home for the occasion, and she's bringing her new boyfriend, Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher, THAT 70S SHOW, PUNK'D). Theresa has neglected to mention that her new beau is white, however, and the formidable Percy is in for a surprise. Though Simon does everything in his power to impress his future father-in-law, nothing will make the imposing patriarch change his undermining disposition. Matters are further complicated because Simon has recently lost his job, and he struggles to keep the family from finding out. As unrest spreads, causing tension--and plenty of laughs--in the days leading up to the party, Simon and Theresa face uncertainty in their relationship while Percy and Marilyn suffer difficulties of their own. GUESS WHO

Release Details

DVD Region: DVD

Studio(s): 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; Deluxe Video Service - Fox

Release date: 12/09/2005

No of Discs: 1

Catalogue No: 3002501000, 3002502000

Barcode: 5039036021500, 5039036021494

Producer: Jason Goldberg

Languages

Main Language: English

Hearing Impaired Language: English

Technical Information

Special Features: Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Featurettes

Aspect Ratio: 1.85 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Dubbing Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English

Professional Reviews

Review: A gem of comic timing (Compuserve, )<br><br>The odd couple of Mac and Kutcher have such a hilarious ease that you'll be won over (E! Online, )<br><br>Kutcher and Bernie Mac make a terrific comic team (Minneapolis Star Tribune, )<br><br>

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Listed on Ciao since: 12/10/2005