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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Guess Who (2005)

"Babe, you're acting like I have cheated on you, and I have never cheated on you. Except for that one time, with myself, and you caught me."
- Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: August 10, 2005

Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac, Zoe Saldana
Other Stars: Judith Scott, Hal Williams, Kellee Stewart, Mike Epps
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Manufacturer: DVDl
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sex-related humor
Run Time: 01h:44m:58s
Release Date: August 02, 2005
UPC: 043396101135
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- BBB+ B-

DVD Review

To be honest, there was nowhere to go but up for Guess Who in my eyes, so anything that was even mildly amusing was a positive—I honestly expected the bottom of the cinematic barrel. The film is being touted as a remake of 1967's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and, aside from the same basic central plot propellant in which an interracial couple travel to meet the girl's parents, the 2005 version of the story takes things in a much more comical direction. The original film offered a serious and earnest look at the subject matter, but this one sidesteps the issues and instead becomes a surprisingly pleasant light comedy.

As Percy (Mac) and Marilyn Jones (Scott) prepare to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, they are thrilled by the announcement that their daughter Theresa (Saldana) is bringing her fiancé home to finally meet the entire family. Having never met the young man, Percy is shocked to discover that Simon is, in fact, white—something Percy overlooked while running a background check on Simon to ensure that he is good enough for his daughter. As the initial plot point fades into the distance, Guess Who becomes a film about the two getting along while they try to make their respective relationships work.

Though it is impossible to avoid the topic of the interracial couple in the picture when describing the plot, it is worth saying that the story never really benefits or suffers from it. As a way to start the plot rolling, it works, and there are some funny moments including a dinner table sequence in which Percy makes Simon squirm by asking him to tell any "ethnic jokes" he may know, but ultimately the film becomes more about the interaction between the characters. Director Kevin Rodney Sullivan does a good job of making his picture feel real instead of forced—sure, some of the situations presented are a tad sitcom-ish, but the genuineness of the performances makes them a little more tolerable.

The movie does suffer in its final act as it turns towards cringe-inducing misunderstandings and grand apologies, but the journey is worth it. I appreciated the fact that Percy and Simon are portrayed as sensible adults rather than enemies; there is a kind of relaxed rivalry that is entertaining, even if the writers go to the well a few too many times.

There are a lot of things to enjoy about Guess Who including two very fine comedic performances by Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher. From the outset this is Mac's film, as his performance seamlessly blends fear, humor, and a collection of expressions and movements that go a long way in making Percy not only an effective character but also a father that would instill fear into the heart of any man choosing to date his daughter. As for Kutcher, he has the easy task of acting endearingly goofy, and he does well.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer for Guess Who is fine for this type of film, but I constantly felt that something this recent should look much better. Sharpness and detail are done well but the transfer suffers from softness throughout, and the colors are not as well defined as they could be.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for Guess Who sounds as one may expect any romantic comedy to, with few slight surprises. The dialogue is crisp and clear with no distortion while the left and right channels do a good job of reinforcing the music on the soundtrack as well as the score. The split rear speakers do a good job of presenting ambient sounds as well as a few nice effects during the go-kart sequence.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
7 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extra Extras:
  1. Gag Reel
Extras Review: The main extra feature is a commentary by director Kevin Rodney Sullivan, who, at first makes the track a congratulatory celebration for all involved, but he does eventually discuss the making of the film and the task of adapting the original (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) for today's audience. Sullivan is well spoken and for a commentary for this type of film, somewhat informative.

A four-minute gag reel as well as seven deleted scenes are also offered and are worth checking out, if only to see Mac's terrific abilities as he improves many of his lines. Finally, a look at the making of the film is offered, although it is strictly promotional as the cast and crew discuss the weight of the subject matter (um, OK, it is a romantic comedy though) as well as just how great everyone is to work with.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

As I said, I wanted to dislike Guess who, but I didn't. It is a nice, well acted and well directed film that is certainly worth a rental.

 


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