Although I’m a big fan of old movies, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner sadly has slipped past me. But knowing how different the times were for a premise like that (a white daughter brings a black man home to meet her parents), makes the 2005 version thirty-eight years later seem a little less severe. However, due to the endless struggle to tear down racial barriers and stereotypes, issues like interracial marriages are still relevant in today’s society. Guess Who approaches the topic head-on in a way that manages to be fun, sensitive, and serious.
Although I’ve never been a fan of Ashton Kutcher or have ever really found him to be too great of an actor, he seemed to fair just fine as Theresa’s straight-up white guy boyfriend. And I can’t imagine a greater choice for a nemesis of sorts than Bernie Mac. Mac and Kutcher played off each other quite well, making their scenes together pretty fun. And with such a sensitive issue as interracial relationships, I thought the filmmakers did a pretty good job presenting the message of the story in a tangible and easy-to-digest fashion. Love ends up being a central theme of the entire film.
And while the Guess Who trailer has played for months in the cinemas, being run nearly to death, I was almost surprised to find plenty of funny moments in the film in addition to that which was spoiled in the trailer. And most of the key moments in the ads that were shown over and over were tweaked slightly for the final product. And Guess Who has plenty of heart which helps carry the film nicely. We’re given enough time to get to know the characters and their conflicts are handled rather realistically (and at the same time quite comically). The film’s major drawback, however, is its occasional treadings into the unnecessary territory of sexual content. While the film would have passed just fine as a family film, several uses of innuendo and a few near-explicit moments muddle the film’s outcome. Specifically, when Theresa discusses with her sister her premarital sex-life with Simon, Theresa mentions the size of his genitals. Some other uses of innuendo are used including a brief masturbation reference (Simon insists to Theresa that he loves her and has never cheated on her “except for that one time with myself and you caught me.”)
Guess Who may not be the sharpest script you’ll encounter this year for a comedy but is mostly a well-written, well-directed outing. Sadly, the sexual content hinders the film overall and keeps it from earning our recommendation. It’s really a shame it couldn’t have been cleaned up more to reach a family audience.