Guess Who?


Directed by: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Written by:David Ronn, Jay Scherick, Peter Tolan
Starring: Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Saldana, Judith Scott, Hal Williams
Released: April 7, 2005
Grade: B+

It’s an odd title but it’ll make more sense when you realise this film is based on the 1967 classic Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn.  In this 2005 remake, the premise has been reversed.  Instead of a white girl bringing home a black man to meet the folks, it’s the black girl bringing home the white man.

It’s going to be an eventful weekend for the Jones family.  Percy (Mac) and Marilyn (Scott) are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and have planned a lavish back-yard ceremony where they can renew their vows.  Percy’s not really a romantic – he’s a tough-nut loan manager who expects the best from everyone.  Writing fresh vows and learning the tango is something he’s looking to avoid.

These problems will take a back seat when his eldest daughter, Theresa (Saldana), arrives home with her new boyfriend, Simon (Kutcher).  Simon may be a successful stockbroker but Percy notices only one quality – he’s white.  For Percy, this cannot stand and he intends to find every flaw he can in Simon to show Theresa that he’s not worthy of her.

Such stories of culture clashes aren’t new.  I remember seeing Bride & Prejudice just a month ago.  What I liked about Guess Who was the simple dialogue and the interaction between the characters.  There are some dynamite scenes between Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher as they each try to out-do each other.  Kutcher is a little over-the-top but Mac is spot on in the delivery of his lines.  It’s the best role I’ve seen him in.

The romantic element is also enjoyable.  The light-hearted scenes shared by Kutcher and Zoe Saldana were great.  They laugh, they don’t argue and they speak without using long-winded romantic metaphors.  It reminded me of the spontaneity in Kutcher’s last romantic comedy, Just Married with Brittany Murphy.  In fact, I’ve liked the last 3 films in which Kutcher has starred if you include The Butterfly Effect.  I guess he (or his agent) know how to pick a good script.  With the exception of… Dude, Where’s My Car?