FBMR - Guess Who
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

GUESS WHO (2005) **1/2

The racial roles are reversed in this movie very loosely based on GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER. Instead of a white woman bringing a black man home to meet her parents; it’s a black woman (Zoe Saldana) with a white boy (Ashton Kutcher) off to meet her parents. During the thick of the American human rights movement in the sixties, GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER generated its fair share of controversy. Now, in the first five years of the twenty-first century, interracial relationships are quite common, and can seemingly now be the subject of comedy. Although, it might not have been that funny if the original racial roles had remained in tact. Comedy often includes some form of role-reversal, whether it is racial, gender, age, or species related. Yet there are still some issues regarding interracial relationships that are addressed in this movie, and are not played for laughs. We live in a world where sometimes it is still frowned upon, given second glances, or even dirty looks. Even when parents and teachers alike impress the ideals of inclusion and acceptance, these racial divisions still find a way to show themselves.

This movie is also about expectations. A natural expectation for Percy Jones (Bernie Mac) is that he is about to meet his daughter’s black boyfriend. But Percy Jones is taken by surprise and unprepared for this revelation, and that's part of his problem with the whole situation. I believe that this movie could have had a similar (albeit less successful) tone, however, had the rift not been racial, but economical, or even sexual.

Most of the conflict in this movie comes from silly issues of mistrust/misunderstanding, and silly choices made by the characters. I think people in the movie forget how to talk to one another, or listen to one another, or try to understand one another … otherwise there would be far fewer problems. Many of these scenarios reminded me of MEET THE PARENTS, which often frustrated me, because people who continually do stupid things annoy me. But this movie was far less infuriating, and actually had me laughing a lot more than I thought it would.

The best moments in this movie were obviously between Mac and Kutcher. They play well off each other, both when they are at each other’s throats and when they are trying to help each other out, not to mention listening to the radio with the sounds of ("Ebony and Ivory" and "Brother Louie").