Sanaa Lathan as Kenya McQueen
Simon Baker as Brian Kelly
Blair Underwood as Mark
Alfre Woodard as Joyce McQueen
Earl Billings as Kenya’s father
Donald Faison as Nelson McQueen
Katharine Towne as Leah Cahan
Stanley DeSantis as Jack Pino
Wendy Raquel Robinson as Cheryl
Golden Brooks as Suzette
Taraji P. Henson as Nedra
Marcus Brown as Rashid Mohammed
Russell Hornsby as Dr. Brockton
Mike Epps as Walter
Lee Garlington as Mrs. Cahan
Tonita Castro as Maria
Matt Malloy as Edwin
David Monahan as Bill Lebree
Gabriel Tigerman as Darren
Tanisha Harper as Stacy
Michelle Griffin as Kiki
Eric Ekholm as Paul
Henry Simmons as Kyle
Kimberly Barnett as Luna
Introduction by Blair Underwood
The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating
The Making of Something New
Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
The following is from the DVD cover:
“Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) thought she had it all: a successful career, good friends and family. There was just one thing she didn’t have under control: her love life. All that changes when she meets sexy, free-spirited Brian Kelly (Simon Baker). But when her ideal man (Blair Underwood) arrives on the scene, Kenya must decide between the relationship everyone expects and the romance no one expected.”
Something New is rated PG-13 for sexual references.
I’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of chick flicks and that’s exactly what Something New is. It’s made by women and geared towards women. In fact, it’s geared towards black women and as you know, I don’t fall within that target audience. That being said, I thought Something New was interesting. It’s an intriguing exploration into race relations in today’s society. The film shows what is, essentially, reverse racism where black people initially look down upon a white man. You don’t see the tables turned like that very often, so it not only made it more interesting but it helped give a little bit better perspective of what it’s like to be subject to racism. You see the white love interest, Brian, feeling out of place at a black party. You see Kenya lose interest in him simply because he’s white. You see her embarrassed to be seen with him. It’s a whole different twist on romance relationships. That’s another point that should be emphasized this is a romance movie. Kenya finds herself torn between a man she loves and the man of her dreams. Seeing her reevaluate her “list” for a perfect man is an interesting transition for her character and I’m sure it resonates with single men and women. The film solidly explores both race and romance.
This is the first time I’ve remembered seeing Sanaa Lathan in a film since Alien vs. Predator. It was kind of amusing to see her go from battling aliens to being a girly girl that’s afraid of spiders. She shows she has a lot of range as an actress here. Unfortunately, her character is so uptight that it’s hard to see why Brain would be interested in her, especially after being rebuffed over race so many times. Simon Baker makes a handsome love interest as Brian Kelly while Blair Underwood ends up being little more than a pretty face as Mark. Alfre Woodard is fun to see in a smaller role as Joyce McQueen, Kenya’s mother. Scrubs’ Donald Faison also has an amusing role as Nelson McQueen, Kenya’s younger brother that has a different woman on his arm in every scene.
Something New does have a couple of problems. Besides depicting Kenya as an Ice Queen, the film bends over backwards to emphasize that Kenya and her family are from high society. It goes to ridiculous lengths to do this towards the end when they attend a black debutante ball. It would be hard enough to swallow with a bunch of white folks doing this outdated ritual, but it seems even weirder to see a bunch of black teens ballroom dancing. You just have to see the scenes to follow what I’m talking about. The whole scene didn’t fit the rest of the film and didn’t seem realistic. Overall, though, it’s an interesting romantic film that I think many audiences likely overlooked during its initial theatrical release.
The DVD is very light on bonus features. The film is introduced by Blair Underwood trying to act cool and doing little more than saying, “Here’s the film.” The featurette “The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating” shows the cast giving dating and relationship tips. I mean, we all know Hollywood stars are the best people to give advice on having solid relationships. Er .Moving on, the second featurette is “The Making of Something New” which is your standard ‘making of’ video. It features interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, and other such stuff.