Web Edition

lead stories
other news



chess forum
town talk


press releases


last week's issue

real estate
classified ads


For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

(Photo by Claudette Barius, S.M.P.S.P.)

photo caption:
A 'MANO A MANO' CONFRONTATION: Percy (Bernie Mac, left) puts his putative future son-in-law's (Ashton Kutcher) race driving skills to the test, in an effort to prove that Simon is unworthy of Theresa's hand in marriage. end caption.

Guess Who: Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher Butt Heads in Interracial Romance Remake

Review by Kam Williams

When Guess Who's Coming to Dinner was first released in December,1967, interracial marriage was a hot-button issue. The U.S. Supreme Court had just legalized the practice in June of that year in the landmark decision Loving v. the State of Virginia. Director Stanley Kramer's movie tested whether America was ready to put aside its prejudices in order to empathize with the plight of a mixed couple who had fallen in love.

The original, nominated for 10 Academy Awards, featured Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Sidney Poitier, Isabel Sanford, and Beah Richards. The late William Rose received an Oscar for the script.

Though Rose has been credited as being the driving force behind Guess Who, the remake has eliminated his version's social statements in favor of slapstick humor. As a result, this remake more closely resembles Meet the Parents, a comedy about a nosy, overprotective father who is suspicious about his daughter's beau.

Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan (Barbershop 2) cast sitcom stars Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show) and Ashton Kutcher (That 70's Show). With the colors of their characters reversed from the main characters in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, the African-American father (Bernie Mac) has a problem accepting a Caucasian son-in-law (Ashton Kutcher).

The story takes place in upscale suburban Cranford, New Jersey, where Percy (Bernie Mac) and Marilyn (Judith Scott) Jones are planning to renew their wedding vows at an elaborate 25th wedding anniversary party. The occasion will also be the couple's first meeting with their daughter Theresa's (Zoë Saldaña) new boyfriend, Simon (Ashton Kutcher).

Percy, a bank loan officer, has run a credit check on Simon, and dixcovers that he has a great job as a stockbroker with a top investment company. Of course the credit check did not reveal that Simon was Caucasian.

Upon Simon and Theresa's arrival, Percy sets the tone for the rest of the film when he mistakenly welcomes their black cabbie (Mike Epps) with open arms while simultaneously ordering the boyfriend to carry the suitcases inside. Even after the initial confusion is sorted out, more inane antics, unbecoming someone of Percy's intelligence and stature, ensue.

For instance, he insists on sharing a bed with Simon in a padlocked room in order to preserve his daughter's chastity. Mac and Kutcher are able to breathe some life into the dialogue, and, thanks to their acting skills, they make the tension between them palpable.

With the rabbit-out-of-the-hat twist which sets up the heartwarming finale, Guess Who is recommended viewing, provided you expect nothing more than an hour-and-a-half escape into sitcom style silliness.

Very Good (3 stars). Rated PG-13 for sex-related humor. Running time: 96 minutes. Distributor: Sony Pictures.

end of review.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.


Website Design by Kiyomi Camp