When it comes to romantic comedies, you gotta lay your cards on the table. So—even though it's about as sophisticated a statement on cinema as "I don't like movies with subtitles"—here it is: I am a sucker for romantic comedies. In fact, romantic comedies can even go easy on the comedy—the comedy's really just there as a salve for people uncomfortable with watching romance, and when a romantic comedy is too funny, you just want to scrap the romantic bullshit and watch the comedy (ahem, Wedding Crashers).

On top of the fact that the delicate romance/comedy balance is frequently flubbed, overall quality control is murky in the genre, which is often treated by the industry like the cheap whore it is. As a general rule, romantic comedies never change your perspectives on relevant issues. They just make you gooey, and—if they're particularly excellent—they'll make you cry.

But what they all have is a twist. In Something New, the twist is that the romance is not only an opposites attract, odd-couple affair, it's an interracial one. Kenya's (Sanaa Lathan) black, Brian's (Simon Baker) white; she's rich and successful, he's rugged (but not a schlub); she's uptight and anal, he's free-spirited and has a dog; she has issues with interracial dating, and he does not.

It's promising that Something New eventually manages to be dignified in its handling of its subject matter, although the film is no stranger to predictable elements. (Stereotypes and clichés abound, but at least they don't clobber you over the head.) Directly aimed at the females in the audience (Kenya's family and friends weigh in with their opinions throughout, whereas the only identifiable people in Brian's life are his dog and a brief appearance by a bitchy, straw hat wearing [!!] ex-girlfriend), Something New manages to be more serious than its neighboring romantic comedies, but without setting the bar overly high—still giving us the happy, unrealistic ending that is the understood promise of any romantic comedy.