Making the Grades
Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher aren't exactly Spencer Tracey and Sidney Poitier. But they're taking on similar roles in the remake of the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. In Guess Who, they play unhappy rivals in an upcoming matrimonial event that's about to make them in-laws.
Percy Jones (Mac) is a successful loans officer living in an upscale New Jersey neighborhood. He's also a very protective father who has set high standards for his two daughters Theresa (Zoe Saldana) and Keisha (Kellee Stewart), particularly when it comes to their suitors.
So despite her boyfriend's job as a stockbroker and his excellent credit rating (a fact her father has already checked out), Theresa is just a little nervous about bringing Simon (Kutcher) home to meet her family. She's even more worried since the roommates want to announce their engagement at her parents' anniversary party.
Coincidentally or not, when Theresa calls home to arrange for a visit, she neglects to mention Simon is Caucasian.
It's a fact immediately noted by Percy and his wife Marilyn (Judith Scott), at their initial introduction. While Theresa's mother is more accepting of Simon, Percy is far less than exuberant about the young man's arrival at their home. From that awkward moment, the weekend slides steadily downhill as the two men clash over everything from drinking practices to sleeping arrangements. Eventually the strain threatens to disrupt Percy and Marilyn's preparations to renew their vows at an extravaganza directed for them by a detail-driven party planner.
Remaking a classic Hollywood movie can be a tricky undertaking because the director either must recreate the original magic or present the plot in an entirely new way. In this case, Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan (Barbershop 2) resorts to slapstick comedy and madcap antics to tell the story of this interracial couple.
For family viewing, the film is stockpiled with profanities and furthers the misconception that dousing your troubles with alcohol is a good way to deal with disappointment. Worst of all, the script uses sex-related comments and innuendo to build much of the humor. Two girls frankly discuss sexual encounters and parts of the male anatomy. As well, an episode with lingerie and comments about premarital intimacy both push the limits for younger audiences.
The content is regrettable since the film finally comes around to some positive messages about marriage and the effort it takes to make it succeed. There are also moments of genuine funniness between the two male comedians. Still, the suggestive remarks and sly insinuations may leave many parents speculating about other movie options for their kids.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Guess Who.
Why does Simon lie about his involvement in NASCAR? Have you ever fibbed in order to make an impression? What problems can result?
What stereotype reversals were portrayed in this movie? How did Simon’s background differ from Theresa’s?
Why was Theresa worried about Simon meeting her parents? What part did family support play in their relationship? Can accepting a potential mate for your child be a difficult thing for parents?