Guess Who (2005)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Guess Who</strong> (2005)

(On TV, July 2018) I may not be a big fan of the original Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (which has aged poorly in some respects), but I can certainly respect the fact that it dared tackle a then-difficult subject with some wit and poise. Decades later, we’re thankfully past the point where interracial relationships are scandalous—but that doesn’t mean that a race-switched remake had to go so strongly for dumb comedy. Of course, with Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, you get what you pay for. At least a pre-stardom Zoë Saldaña looks great in an underwritten role. To be honest, Guess Who isn’t so bad once you get past the sacrilege factor: Kutcher does have his charm, Mac is a strong presence, and the comedy is so strictly formula that it’s guaranteed to be acceptable for a wide variety of focus group members. (I jest, but at least one scene goes a bit farther than it needed to in having Kutcher tell a few racial jokes to a black audience, and them finding them pretty funny—at least until the last one goes over the edge.)  The rest of the film is merely fine, and errs more often on the side of romantic comedy rather than racial commentary. Which is understandable enough given the soft-sell approach it takes. Every era gets the movies it deserves, and so the mid-2000s got their mostly innocuous race-relationship movie.

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