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Far from original, but still entertaining

Courtney Wilson | Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Simon Green, played by Ashton Kutcher, and his girlfriend Theresa Jones, played by Zoe Saldana, are lovebirds who plan to announce their engagement on the same weekend Theresa’s parents will host a celebration to renew their own vows. The dilemma begins with Theresa’s failure to mention to her parents that her new boyfriend is not of African descent, as she and her family are. When Theresa’s father, a bank loan officer, pulls up Simon’s credit report, he is initially impressed by the prospect’s qualifications. After meeting him in person, however, his attention quickly turns to an entirely different focus. Simon is white – very white – and Theresa comes from an upper-middle-class black family. Under the circumstances, Simon cannot help but feel intimidated by the presumptuous personality of his soon-to-be father-in-law. To make matters worse, Simon has just quit his job. For the sake of impressing Theresa’s parents, he deals with the uncomfortable task of concealing this secret till the end of the weekend.If this plot sounds at all familiar, it might be because “Guess Who,” was intended to be a satiric version of the original classic “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” starring Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Keep in mind, however, that a reverse story line and comedic plot makes it much different from the first. Hoping for more laughs, the movie depends heavily on the comical personalities of Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher. Mac plays the part of Percy Jones, the disenchanted father previously played by Spencer Tracy, while Kutcher accordingly plays Sidney Poitier’s role as the distrusted boyfriend. Dynamic duo Mac and Kutcher seem like they are essentially playing themselves in this movie. Like most of his roles, Mac plays the sarcastic and outwardly unfriendly man who is actually just a big cuddly teddy bear on the inside. And Kutcher does a great job at playing the silly and amusing man we all know from his appearances on “That 70s Show” and “Punk’d.” It is obvious that the film is carried almost entirely by the chemistry between the two stars; in fact, the best scenes in the movie feature witty back and forth taunting games and disagreements between the pair. When they attempt to outdo each other in a series of activities, including go-cart racing and tango dancing, their collaboration is very humorous. Fans of either actor will absolutely love the two together.While the movie jokes a lot about interracial dating, it also prompts viewers to recognize that prejudice and stereotypes are still relevant today. One scene in particular involves Kutcher – after much instigation from Mac – telling a series of derogatory black jokes in front of the entire family. Overall, the race talk is light and presented in an appropriate viewer-friendly manner. One should not find the subject overwhelming. Simon’s overbearing desire to impress his girlfriend’s father, however, makes the movie appear to be more reminiscent of “Meet the Parents” than any other previous film. In a series of lies concocted by the character, Simon finds himself in a series of slippery situations involving his employment and athletic capabilities. Likewise, Percy acts as the arrogant and overprotective father, also familiar to “Meet the Parents.” Although the movie is actually quite similar to many movies before it, it still maintains an individual kind of comedic appeal. But be forewarned to not go in expecting an Oscar-winning performance found in the original version of “Guess Who.”