Opens Fri March 25
In one of Guess Who's most glaringly offensive moments--and those moments are legion--Bernie Mac makes a crack about the "metrosexual" party planner who's helping to plan his vow renewal ceremony. The stupidity of the term aside, what sort of filmmakers include cheap gay jokes in a movie supposedly about overcoming prejudicial barriers? The same kind of filmmakers, apparently, who think we're all so over racism that the modern classic Guess Who's Coming to Dinner--1967's exploration of the complex nature of racism in America--is ready for a comic retelling.
In Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, two aging liberals (Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn) are forced to confront their own internalized racism when they realize their daughter plans on marrying a black man. Much of their concern hinges on a desire to protect their child from the hostility she'll face as part of a mixed race couple. In Guess Who, Bernie Mac goes apeshit when he realizes that his daughter Theresa (Zoë Saldaña) is dating white guy Simon (Ashton Kutcher). When Theresa brings Simon home for the weekend, Mac even resorts to sharing a bed with the Kutch in order to keep Simon from doing the nasty with his daughter.
But it's never explained why Mac has such a problem with his daughter's relationship--unlike Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, no parental concern is evident in Guess Who; in a knee-jerk reaction that the audience is expected to just "get," Mac simply develops an inexplicable case of Angry Black Man Syndrome as soon as he catches sight of Simon. And as if the dynamics of mixed race relationships weren't interesting enough to sustain an entire movie (or, more likely, because the filmmakers don't have the balls to engage in the kind of conversation that would actually be interesting), there's also an unnecessary subplot in which Simon loses his job because his boss doesn't want him to marry a black girl.
Yes, it's all as clumsy, unintelligent, and unfunny as it sounds, and as the final kicker, Guess Who's crammed to the brim with incredibly backward ideas about race and gender. Avoid it at all costs, unless you're what I can only assume is the movie's target audience: A straight white guy who gets off on feeling persecuted.