"Guess Who is missing an essential ingredient for a comedy - humour."
Taking a direct influence from the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Guess Who owes more to Meet the Parents with a little Father of the Bride in there as well. Unfortunately Guess Who does not scale the heights of any of its inspirations and seriously lacks the humour one should expect from a romantic comedy.Where the original was about a white woman bringing a black man home for the weekend, this remake reverses the racial roles and has Theresa (Zoe Saldana) as black woman bringing her successful stock market whiz boyfriend, Simon (Ashton Kutcher) home on the weekend of her parents 25th wedding anniversary celebrations. Through his banking connections, Theresa’s father Percy Jones (Bernie Mac) has already had him checked out and likes what he sees on paper; a great job, good investments and a healthy credit rating but what he doesn’t know is that he is as white as they come and not quite the Denzel Washington/Tiger Woods hybrid that he had hoped for.
When Percy realises that he’s daughter’s relationship is possibly altar bound he takes a strong mistrust to Simon and is determined to expose him as not being worthy of Theresa’s hand in marriage. Although Percy tries to convince those around him that it has nothing to do with Simon’s skin tone it is obvious that it is an issue. What follows is a series of events that generally go very wrong as Simon attempts to win Percy’s trust
Guess Who is full of good intention but for a comedy is lacking one main ingredient – laughs. At the screening that I attended I only heard about three audible chuckles. Admittedly there are moments that make you smile mainly from Bernie Mac’s overbearing dad but he has done so much better before. Then there is Ashton Kutcher’s performance which falls flat and is incredibly dry. Maybe if Meet the Parents did not exist there would be more to like about Guess Who but this leaves you wondering why they bothered when the former was so successful with this format. Sure, the race issue is a new ingredient but is it really necessary and as relevant in 2005 as it was when the original was made back in 1967? I don’t think so.There’s no need to rush out to the cinema for this one. It may well pass as a bit of Sunday night fluff when it comes out on DVD or is aired on TV but only if there are no other options.