April 1 - 7 , 2005• Vol. 26 - No. 13

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Guess Who—So Predictable a Film,
You Won’t Have to Guess for Long

by the Maven and the Blonde
Film Columnists

Although this film sounds like a remake of Stanley Kramer’s 1967 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Guess Who is much more reminiscent of Meet the Parents. In this case, the parents are Percy and Marilyn Jones. Bernie Mac (Ocean's 12 and Mr. 3000) plays Percy Jones, a proud, family man and bank loan officer. He is about to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary and renew his vows to wife Marilyn, portrayed by Judith Scott (Vera Drake and Dunston Checks In) with a big outdoor party at his suburban Cranford, New Jersey home. Arriving for the party is their daughter Theresa, played by Zoe Saldana (The Terminal and Center Stage), along with her not-as-yet introduced boyfriend, Simon. Percy envisions Simon to have the smarts of Colin Powell, the competitive edge of Tiger Woods and the looks of Denzel Washington. Enter Ashton Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect and Just Married), who is not the perfect beau Percy imagined his daughter bringing home (are they ever?). The stage is now set for this overprotective father to find a reason to dislike Simon other than the mere fact that he is not black. You would think that politics and race had evolved since 1967, but while society has become more tolerant as a whole, people and especially fathers, are still suspicious and narrow-minded as they ever were when it comes to their daughters. As Percy tries to find and expose Simon's flaws, a friendship and a bond develop which surprises both of them.

The Blonde: Guess Who was like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (only in reverse and not as good) meets Meet the Parents meets My Big Fat Greek Wedding meets Father of the Bride meets “The Odd Couple” all meet the Huxtables (the television couple). This film was slightly (and I do mean SLIGHTLY) entertaining, but quite trite, silly and overly predictable. Speaking of Camilla Parker BOWELS, William is not too happy about his father’s upcoming wedding set for April 8, and needless to say, neither is the QUEEN and THE BLONDE!

The Maven: How typically YOU put yourself right up there with the queen! And FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, it is BOWLES, not BOWELS! What I wanted to say, though, was the Bishop of Salisbury is suggesting to Charles that he atone for his past adultery to Andrew Parker Bowles.

The Blonde: Not to mention all the others, and he doesn't have much time to do it! And for the MILLIONTH TIME, she will always be known to me as Bowels…

The Maven: WHATEVER. Hey Blonde, it may only be Andrew.

The Blonde: Yeah, AS IF!

The Maven: Bernie Mac gave a strong performance as the gruff, skeptical, defensive and snobby Percy, but underneath it all he showed a deep dish of sweetness. A very similar performance was seen from Spencer Tracy in the original version of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. That's where the comparison stops between the two movies. This film was far more timid and lacked the integral definition of the female roles. Where race was the prime issue in the original, this update uses race as humor only.

The Blonde: Maven, I agree with none of the above. Although I do like Bernie Mac, he is not and probably will NEVER be in the league of Spencer Tracy. In addition, this was a POOR remake if THAT is what was intended. The characters were so much more colorful, passionate and bold in the original. To differ from what you said as well, I felt the issue WAS race, but the script was too weak to pull off the dimensions and depth of the original. Speaking of depth, has Oprah really left Stedman and are Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell really broken up?

The Maven: OH NO… Did you get that info from the Star OR the Enquirer?

The Blonde: Well, I was bored at the hair salon! You didn't answer the question though!

The Maven: I haven't spoken with Oprah or Goldie recently BUT… Jennifer Aniston DID file for divorce from Brad.

The Blonde: Well, that I ALREADY KNEW FIRST HAND!

The Maven: Sure you do!! And NOW for the pregnancy rumor of the week, it's Britney Spears...

The Blonde: Oops, she’s pregnant again…Nah, she's just probably eating too much pasta and candy…

The Maven: Let's get back to the movie!

The Blonde: Oh, but this is much more fun to talk about than the movie!

The Maven: Too bad! Moving right along, there should have been a very funny scene when Percy and Simon shared the sofa bed. Instead, it was mildly amusing if that. That scene was done much better in Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy.

The Blonde: You are so right!  I miss John Candy… Steve Martin's upcoming film, The Pink Panther looks like a riot. Maven, I just love the term they spoke of in this film, METRO SEXUAL… a straight man with taste. That's what I am looking for? I know you won't agree with me Maven, but Ashton Kutcher doesn't do it for me AT ALL. I don't see what Demi sees in him, especially after Bruce Willis. I don't even think his acting is 'ALL THAT.’ His skills miss the mark, BUT THAT'S JUST ME! I totally think he belongs on the small television screen instead of major films.

The Maven: Blonde, none of your husbands ever did it for me, but I never questioned YOU about what you saw in THEM???

The Blonde: Well, I wished you had… it would have saved me a lot of time, trouble and anguish! AND NOW, BACK TO THE FILM… I enjoyed watching Theresa's sister, Keisha, played by Kellee Stewart. Here's a perfect example of how a small part can steal a film. All the others did a fine job as well.  

The Maven: Considering what they had to work with, I agree. Guess Who works when it’s a pleasant, undemanding, comedy about mismatched individuals finding points of mutual understanding. It doesn't work when it’s playing like a sitcom with overly cute humor. I rate this film a C for common. Hey Blonde, where did you go running off to at the end of the movie?

The Blonde: Barf, barf, gag me with a soup spoon, a serving spoon and/or a dessert spoon, what an icky, oh-so, oh-so sweet ending! I needed to run to the bathroom, it made me so nauseous! I really feel our readers can live without seeing this film. It is far too simple without any substance. I rate Guess Who a C-. Go buy a bucket of popcorn and see another film!

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