This is sort of “inspired by” the 1967 groundbreaking Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a movie I never really liked much. Yeah, it was an important movie, it got people talking and thinking, and it probably did a lot of good, but it was sort of a stiff, dramatically. Hard to watch it now. Which is good. The fact that a “re-make” in 2005 could only work as a comedy is wonderful, when you think about it. Not that interracial marriage is common or easy today, far from it, but it’s something we’ve seen frequently in the movies, and in real life, not the unthinkable thing it still was in 1967.
I had zero expectations, which is a good way to go into a comedy these days, because you’ll usually come out with your laugh meter still set solidly at zero. But if you get more laughs than you expected, you’re ahead of the game! There were a few good laughs early on, and then some good scenes, and I found myself having a good time. Sure, the movie goes exactly where you expect it to go, and naturally there are some bad choices made, some cheap laughs, some that just go clunk! But the young couple is very appealing, and Ashton Kutcher even gets some laughs, once he’s allowed to stand up and fight back against the badgering he gets from her dad. And Bernie Mac is a very, very funny man. I hate to observe this, but looking at the way he can bug out his eyes, I realize that he could have made a good living back in the Stepin Fetchit days. Thank god he was born into a better age, so he can use that expressive face to get in the white man’s face, instead of being stuck with lines like “Feets, do yo’ stuff!”
And one more thing made it work. Minor characters, so often given short shrift, are all well written and acted. One of the best scenes was of eight or nine black women sitting around, getting a buzz on while they diss their men, and the male sex in general.