Guess Who Movie Review
"Guess Who" is a remake of the Sidney Poitier classic "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," but I could've sworn I've seen this movie in theaters in the last five years. Oh yeah, it was "Meet the Parents."
Okay, I admit that comparing "Guess Who" to "Meet the Parents" is cliché by this point, as I've already read several reviews pointing out the similarities between the two movies. Who knows, maybe if I hadn't read those reviews I wouldn't even point any of this out. That being said, "Guess Who" is a watered down version of the Ben Stiller/Robert De Niro comedy. Think about it - that movie was about a neurotic white guy who goes to visit his girlfriend's overly protective father. This is the exact same movie, only De Niro has been replaced by Bernie Mac. Oh, what originality! Good thing Ashton Kutcher knows how to pick his movies ("Just Married," anyone?).
So "Guess Who" isn't very original at all, and all the jokes have been done countless times over, but is it really fair to be so hard on it for comparing it to another movie? After all, how many successful romantic comedies have used the exact same formula time and time again? As far as generic comedies, "Guess Who" is surprisingly decent, but that doesn't mean we have to pat Kutcher on the back.
Frankly, Kutcher sucks in this movie, but I don't know if I can completely blame him. The dialogue handed to him, if it was entirely scripted, falls flat most of the time. Once again, we're presented with a character who lies time and time again when he should know that it's just going to blow up in his face and we'll be forced to sit through a monotonous she-leaves-him sequence. Regardless of the source of the bad dialogue, Kutcher just doesn't convince me as a leading man. I would much prefer to see Topher Grace ("In Good Company") be the most successful cast member from "That 70's Show."
On the other hand, Bernie Mac is terrific. His character is nothing new for him as he often plays grumpy racists, but Mac is funny pretty much nonstop. If he had better material to work with he'd be - well, better - but he handles himself okay.
The movie itself is so-so. The first half is surprisingly decent, with some funny moments. The scenes between Kutcher and Mac are understandably the best, but it's Mac who steals the show repeatedly. Some jokes are a bit too cheesy or cliché, but others, even if unoriginal, work well enough. Unfortunately, "Guess Who" really stumbles in the second half as it gets dragged down in the she-leaves-him third act and some other more serious moments. By this point, the jokes have become tired and overused, and once Mac and Kutcher start getting along, as you know they eventually will, the movie fizzles and dies.
"Guess Who" is remarkably better than I was expecting, but that's not saying much. It's as generic as they come, but in a day where generic movies are all too common I've seen a lot worse.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.