Publicity Stills of "Guess Who"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Starring: Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Cauffiel, Chad Gabriel
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG

Release Date: 14 April 2005

Synopsis :

A sarcastic father (Mac) has plenty to say about his daughter wanting to marry a white boy (Kutcher).

Movie Review:

“Guess Who” is a remake of a 1967 film “Guess who is coming for dinner”. Basically both films are structured around the jitters and fears of meeting your potential in-laws for the first time. The uneasy tensed situation here is severely amplified when both parties come from different races and skin colours.

The issues about interracial dating seem to be more relevant in the ‘60s and less in this modern cosmopolitan world. However there are still folks who think that interracial dating’s an issue and they brought together Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac to remake this film. The biggest difference from the original: it’s a white man visiting his black girlfriend’s family for the first time.

While I have never seen the original film before, thus could not compare and contrast both films, I found “Guess Who’s” certain plot devices and scene setups that are very similar to “Meet the Parents”. From planning a wedding proposal during the first meet up with the potential in-laws, to the judgmental father who did an extensive check on his daughter’s boyfriend and many more.

Recycled plots aside, “Guess Who” should be able to raise a few chuckles from the audience but there won’t be any sidesplitting irrepressible laughter. Although comedian Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher share the duties of carrying the jokes out for this film, it was ultimately Bernie Mac that delivered the goods.

Although it’s not cool to discriminate different races in these modern times, the stereotyping are still enjoyable, at least on film. Especially when Percy Jones (Bernie Mac) launches verbal and mental assaults at Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher) at every opportunity. One of the funniest moments of this film was when Percy met Simon for the first time and Percy made the most obvious embarrassing stereotyping mistakes. While Percy was oblivious to it, it was pretty clear that Percy did not fancy a white son-in-law.

Ashton Kutcher basically repeats his usual exaggerated exasperated behavior and emotion, very much like the same performance he gave in the “Just Married”. However there are some girls who find it cute so not everyone is turn off by his attempt at comedic performance. Strangely I felt that he was better in serious roles such as “The Butterfly Effect” than trying so hard to tickle the viewers’ funny bones.

Despite it being touted as a romantic comedy, sadly the chemistry between Theresa (Zoe Saldana) and Simon Green is lacking there. They are both good looking but it felt like they are simply spouting their scripted lines to each other. The only moments at their romantic best was snippets of thought-evoking issues about love being played out in the last part of the show.

The bottom line: is this show worth watching?

If you are looking for a lighthearted film to unwind or kill time with mindless entertainment, “Guess Who” will be able to do the job. Otherwise it would be like the reply Theresa gave Simon when asked if she told her parents that he’s white, “It’s not important”.

Movie Rating: C

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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