Friday, April 15, 2005

Guess Who

The duo of Percy Jones and Simon Green make for an unusual pairing in Guess Who - an update of the classic social satire Guess who's coming to Dinner. This version takes the spin on the colors and race in reverse and the result is a fun-filled entertainment of comedic brilliance and ingenious casting.

Bernie Mac is Percy Jones. He is a proud black man preparing for the renewal of his vows with his wife of 25 years when he is confronted with the biggest test of his so-called black life.

Ashton Kutcher is Simon Green. He is a proud white guy preparing for his looming engagement with the love of his life - some black girl who happens to be the daughter of Percy - when he realizes that the girl he intends to marry have not told her parents about his color.

What ensues when the two main protagonists finally meet is a typical struggle of machismo between the father and the would-be son-in-law but what complicates the matter most is Percy's vehement rejection of Simon because of his color. In contrasting fashion, Simon takes Percy's objection to heart and launches his own counterattacks against the man by tying up lies into his stories and hiding some unsavory facts about his status just so he could please the implacable Percy.

Eventually the silent clashing blows up and it ends up threatening their respective relationships. How this is resolved make for one classic dance of tango never seen onscreen - in a comical way, that is - since the seductive and sensuous dance in Scent of a Woman.

Kutcher's and Mac's comedic skills explode on screen and every time they appear together the laughter just starts breaking uncontrollably. Kutcher has never been this good and he seems to possess the artistic dynamism of Tom Hanks who can do both drama and comedy with equal ease (his turn in The Butterfly Effect is a testimony to this). Mac is his usual good self and his comic timing certainly delivers the right punches, neither crude nor physical but inherently funny.

This comedy certainly is not to be taken seriously as a tool on racial criticism, but the filmmaker somehow manages to mix in some cautious messages and commentaries that a truly discerning viewer should be able to appreciate amidst all the laughter that this movie offers. But despite all those "essential" messages, this is still one very, very funny movie.

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