I'll admit it, I'm not that into black women. I don't know why, but I'm just not. That being said, Sanaa Lathan is hot. Super hot. Sure, she's ten years older than me, but she is gorgeous. And she's also a pretty good actress, especially in romantic comedies such as these.
"Something New" is actually more of a drama than a comedy, but it is a light drama with a couple laughs, and a lot of coverage on racial tensions and how those tensions play into relationships. Lathan plays the successful yet uptight Kenya who doesn't have much of a social life until she gets into an awkward relationship with Brian, a quintessential white guy who looks a lot like Simon Baker. Brian isn't unsuccessful, but he runs a landscaping business and certainly doesn't fall into the suit-and-tie world Kenya is used to. As their relationship progresses, they quickly discover that no matter how much they care for each other, race will always be an issue - Kenya sees racism every day and her beau thinks she is just being paranoid.
The great thing about "Something New" is that it presents a fairly balanced look at things without getting too serious a la Spike Lee, and at the same time offers a moving and entertaining romantic story. Baker and Lathan have good chemistry together, though admittedly there are a few scenes where Baker looks a bit weird... not that that has anything to do with chemistry. The two actors play off each other well and, especially toward the end, you really start to feel for both their situations and cheer for them to get back together. Furthermore, this is one of those movies that, to make a point, could end with the characters separated, although in reality it's a romantic flick so you have a 95 percent chance at guessing the ending fairly accurately.
For these type of films, nothing else really offers, though the film has a good array of supporting cast members that add a little more humor to the situation. It's interesting that the film never takes a look at things from Brian's family's point of view - it could have been a good contrast. The movie also isn't quite as consistent and funny as some of the other movies in this genre, which I tend to call the "comedies-where-the-stars-are-black-and-the-whole-plot-is-thankfully-not-casting-blacks-in-a-negative-or-sleazy-light" genre. Other such films include "The Best Man," "The Wood," "Love & Basketball" and "Brown Sugar" - all films that Lathan has starred in coincidentally.
Compared to her past films, "Something New" is certainly better than "Brown Sugar" but definitely less entertaining than her other, more popular films - but this one isn't meant to be as much of a comedy as her previous efforts. "Something New" is a refreshing look at an interracial couple, and while not incredibly memorable, it is a well-done romantic dramedy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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