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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Who’ asked for this tame remake of a classic?

Grade: C+

“Guess Who” reshapes the classic 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” into a funny, occasionally emotional movie showcasing the timeless boyfriend/father dynamic.

Ashton Kutcher plays a Wall Street wunderkind named Simon and Zoe Saldana plays his fiancé, Theresa. Their upcoming weekend visit to meet Theresa’s family sets up an important crossroad for their relationship.

Bernie Mac plays Theresa’s stern, yet sensitive father Percy who finally gets to enact his overprotective authority that he has envisioned since Theresa was born. Percy, a loan officer at a local New Jersey bank, even pulls Simon’s credit record before they meet.

Hal Williams plays Percy’s father and Judith Scott plays Percy’s wife (notice what she’s wearing at the ending sequence — a nice emotional touch to a satisfactory experience).

Screenwriter Peter Tolan assists David Ronn and Jay Scherick with the story, which has a lot of cultural references, most notably played out in the dinner sequence.

These experienced TV writers help Kutcher and Mac make a more complete transition to film by drawing on their comedic talents in several situational settings/awkward moments, while providing some good character development at the same time.

Percy’s co-worker, Reggie, and his “meterosexual” event planner compliment him well, but Simon is just “along for the ride” most of the time, which doesn’t make his character very strong.

Simon’s actions are mostly circumstantial and the audience never really gets to see what he’s really like, especially at work. Screenwriters even use Simon to compliment Theresa’s development in a nostalgic sequence on top of a building because he doesn’t have anything else to do.

Simon and Percy have a lot of good scenes together full of comedy and progression. A stubborn Percy eventually concedes his brutal authority while Simon learns he can measure up to expectations. “Every man gets to choose his own destiny, no matter what his father did,” Percy tells Simon.

Many unrealistic story elements such as Simon’s profession (you never get to see him actually work) drags a bit at one hour and 37 minutes, has a sappy music score and a weak running gag about lyrics of a B2K song.

The writers make the movie more enjoyable by minimizing the antagonist, Simon’s boss, who has a different view of “the regular world and the work world” and countless situations familiar to the audience.

Seasoned director Kevin Rodney Sullivan doesn’t show much style except for a creative sequence when two couples talk about each other after their initial meeting and some transition shots.

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