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:: Guess Who

The story of Guess Who transpires over several days just prior to a 25th wedding anniversary celebration in the suburban town of Cranford, New Jersey. Percy Jones (Bernie Mac) and his wife Marilyn (Judith Scott) are planning a big party and eagerly anticipate catching up with their daughter Therese (Zoe Saldana) and meeting her new boyfriend, Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher). Simon and Theresa plan to announce their engagement at Percy and Marilyn’s anniversary party.

Percy is an over protective father and as far as he’s concerned, no man will ever be good enough for his daughter. Tired of the procession of struggling-artist types Theresa has previously dated, Percy, a bank loan officer, runs a credit check on Simon who is a successful stockbroker. For the first time, Percy looks forward to meeting his daughter’s new man who certainly looks good on paper. However, the young man he has envisaged is not who arrives at his doorstep. Percy is aghast and more than a little indignant when his daughter presents her Caucasian boyfriend. Once he is over the initial shock, Percy begins interrogating Simon about his family history, education, career and favorite sports. Simon’s repeated attempts to make a good impression are futile as Percy rebuffs him at every turn.

The genesis of Kutcher’s interest in the subject of mixed race relationships evolved from his friendship with hip-hop impresario Sean “P Diddy” Combs, which generated a great deal of interest in the media. Says Kutcher “What was really interesting about my friendship with Sean is the way people would look at us hanging out together as if it shouldn’t be happening, like we were this weird odd couple. I think that’s when the motivation to act on the idea went into high gear”.

This film is a basic exercise in race relations and generational relations for a younger audience. Following in the footsteps of Meet the Parents and Meet the Fokkers, Guess Who is a bit twee but there are several laughs thanks to the strength of the physical comedy that Mac and Kutcher are capable of. Guess Who bears little semblance to Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner made in 1967, which was definitely a product of more racially tense times and in the modern day take on this subject matter, we are spared the didactic moralising present in the original film .