Movie Reviews

Guess Who

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Rating: 6 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Bernie Mac as Percy Jones
Ashton Kutcher as Simon Green
Zoe Saldana as Theresa
Judith Scott as Marylin Jones
Jonelle Kennedy as Winnie
RonReaco Lee as Reggie
Andy Morrow as Jason
Sherri Shepherd as Sydney
Kellee Stewart as Keisha
Amanda Tosch as Diane

Summary:
Bernie Mac steals the show in Guess Who, a film more closely resembling Meet the Parents than Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

Story:
This film is loosely based on the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.

When Percy's daughter Theresa brings her new boyfriend Simon Green home to meet him, he thinks he knows exactly what to expect. As a bank loan officer, he has checked up on the boy's credit history and background. Percy certainly approves of the young black man. The only catch is that he isn't black.

Upon finding out that his daughter's love interest is white, Percy immediately takes to hating Simon. It doesn't help matters that Simon is totally intimidated by Percy's presence. He resorts to elaborate lies in order to try and impress his potential future father-in-law. Unfortunately he just digs himself in a hole deeper and deeper.

As the harassment escalates, Theresa and Simon find their relationship threatened. But will they be drawn closer or split up because of the racial tension?

Guess Who is rated PG-13 for sex-related humor.

What Worked:
Guess Who seems to be more inspired by Meet The Parents than the original Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Like in Meet the Parents, Bernie Mac mercilessly intimidates Ashton Kutcher. Murphy's Law seems to rule everything our hapless fiancée does. The two stars build up to a big conflict and ultimately come to an understanding. The only difference is the racial twist. So if you liked Meet the Parents, you'll probably enjoy Guess Who. This movie isn't nearly as funny, but they are definitely in the same spirit.

Bernie Mac really makes the movie as Percy. He steals every scene he's in. Mac is as intimidating as Robert DeNiro, but in a different way. He relentlessly puts Kuthcer's character on the spot. He plays the race card repeatedly in order to make Kutcher feel like he's out of place. In fact, Mac's character is pretty much exactly like his character on the Bernie Mac TV show. So if you like him there, you'll probably enjoy him here as well. There's not much difference.

I have to say that I'm no real fan of Ashton Kutcher, but he did a decent job in this movie as Simon. While Ben Stiller was a more likable underdog in Meet the Parents, Kutcher is still able to generate a number of laughs in Guess Who. One particularly memorable scene takes place when Bernie Mac puts him on the spot to tell black jokes. You can see how it's going to end a mile away, but it still ends up generating some chuckles as it unfolds. He and Mac also have decent chemistry in the film. One scene where they drive in a car together with "black and white" songs playing on the radio is quite funny.

The supporting cast members all have moments to shine in this film. Zoe Saldana is pretty good as Theresa. She's cute, yet she has a fiery enough temper at times so that you can believe she's really Bernie Mac's daughter. Judith Scott is entertaining as Marylin Jones, Percy's wife. She, too, is more than a match for Mac's intimidating presence. The grandfather also steals the show at one dinner scene.

In the end, Guess Who is no masterpiece, but it's a fun, lighthearted bit of comedy that's worth checking out.

What Didn't Work:
Unfortunately, most of the funny scenes in this film were shown in the trailer. Guess Who doesn't have much to offer beyond what's there. I think if you haven't seen the trailer then you'll enjoy this movie a lot more.

And while it's OK for Guess Who to resemble Meet the Parents, it does so a little too closely. It never breaks off into new territory or does anything really hilarious to set it apart. The main difference is the racial issue and that only goes so far.

Ashton Kutcher does a decent enough job, but his role really needed someone who was a breakout personality and could add more to what was in the script. He's almost more of a straight man to Bernie Mac than someone generating laughs on his own.

The Bottom Line:
If you like Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, or Meet the Parents, then you'll probably find Guess Who worth checking out.

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