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GUESS WHO (PG-13) (2005)

Columbia Pictures

Official Site

Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan

Producers: Jason Goldberg, Steve Greener, Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac, Erwin Stoff, Betty Thomas, Jenno Topping

Written by: David Ronn, Peter Tolan, and Jay Scherick; from the movie Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner written by William Rose

Cast: Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Saldana

Rating: , because I'm not gonna take it any more


AUTHOR’S NOTE: The exchange below is a complete fabrication and not meant to be taken the least bit seriously, but I have seen The Player and I’ve watched pitch sessions at the Austin Film Festival. Plus, I read a lot of play-scripts

(Posh studio office, a studio executive is grousing at his desk, unhappy with current figures he’s checking out on Box Office Mojo.com. Meanwhile, an intern is working in the corner with a rusty old paper cutter and a roll of xXx 2: State Of The Union stickers)

Studio Executive: Dammit, we’re getting killed out there! We need something hot, something fresh, something new, something sexy! What we need is something that will be number #1 at the domestic box office for three days. Then we’ll make a killing on downloads.

(The intern sees an opening and rushes up, finally getting a chance to prove his worth and knowledge.)

Intrepid Intern: But sir… people don’t pay money when they download movies on the Internet.

S.E.: …WTF? Why aren’t you cutting stickers?

I.I.: Well, I know general office work goes along with the job, but I’m also here to get experience and to learn about the industry. However, I talk with a lot of people and the reason people download movies off the Internet is usually because they don’t feel like paying to see them in theatres or on DVD.

S.E.: Listen son, why don’t you go back to cutting your stickers and let the big boys talk business, ’kay?

I.I.: But sir, I really think…

S.E.: Listen up sunshine, I already told you once nicely, so sit your happy ass down and cut your fucking stickers or I am going to personally kick you until you cry.

I.I.: Wow, someone listens to Phil Hendrie. Baka tojikomeru.

(The S.E. clicks a button on the intercom on his desk.)

S.E.: Sweetie, send him in.

(Talentless Hack enters. He sees the intern stacking up stickers and purposely kicks wind in the intern’s general direction, knocking the stack of stickers into a messy heap. The intern watches helplessly and weeps quietly on the inside.)

Talentless Hack: ’Sup Tim, how goes it?

S.E.: Still breathing, Andrew, still breathing. So what you got for me?

T.H.: Well I just finished up an all-weekend marathon of movies featuring Ashton Kutcher, Bernie Mac, Ben Stiller, and Sidney Poitier.

S.E.: And what do those guys have in common?

T.H.: Because you know, we already have Mac and Ash signed up for a movie together right? We just haven’t figured out what that movie is going to be. So I figured, well… Bernie Mac and Kutcher, their ages are too different to do a buddy action movie or a science fiction thriller.

S.E.: What about that comic book shit we just licensed from that Arad schmuck?

I.I.: Cloak And Dagger sir.

S.E.: Son, you are this close to getting a halisen up your hoo-hoo if you say one more syllable.

T.H.: I checked that out actually, and it would require Kutcher to get a sex change, and as we both know, he’s not much of a method actor.

S.E.: Fuck him.

T.H.: Let me finish. So then I started watching Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers.

S.E.: That’s out on DVD already?

T.H.: Nah, I just downloaded it. So let me finish already biznatch!

S.E.: S’Cool.

T.H.: And then I started watching Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. And I realized the movies are nearly exactly the same. So I thought, let’s combine the great multi-million dollar comedy of Meet The Parents and chop suey it up with the brilliant social and racial discourse of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner!

S.E.: Shit… fucking… fly… that is fucking tits! But wait… where do Mac and Kutcher come in?

T.H.: Simple, we just switch things up a little bit. We make the Drayton family from “Dinner” a BLACK family with Mac playing the father and… get this *drum roll*… we make the Prentice character…

(The S.E. looks pointedly at the intern.)

S.E.: He said drum roll, dumbshit.

(The Intrepid Intern starts tapping on the papercutter board).

T.H.: ASHTON KUTCHER

S.E.: …Andrew you are taking me out to Nordstrom’s later today and getting me a $500 suit.

(The T.H. smiles knowingly.)

T.H.: Why, whatever do you mean?

S.E.: Because I think I just had the biggest orgasm of my life and I couldn’t hold it in. Intern, check my shorts.

(The intern sighs in disgust and finishes the inspection as quickly as possible).

I.I.: You’re good boss. But the thing is... about that movie, it’s so derivative and unoriginal, I thought you wanted something new and fresh?

S.E.: Fuck you talking about? The movie combines Guess Who’s [Fucking] Coming To Dinner with Meet The [Fucking] Parents while presenting a scenario of reverse racism between the Mac and Ash respectively. Never been done before. That is new and fresh. Oh, you’re finished cutting the stickers I see? Okay, well I need you to go clean up the conference room. We had a Dianetics party there last night, and Tommy couldn’t quite hold his OJ if you know what I mean. And when you are done with that I need you to take the company Gremlin to pick up my chihuahuas from their play date with Paris Hilton.

(The intern tries to hide his shudder as he walks out.)

S.E.: Sorry about the schmuck. Interns!

T.H.: S’cool sexy.

S.E.: So when can we have this ready by?

T.H.: Let’s see... Factoring in the screenwriting, finding a director and a crew, the rest of the supporting cast, visual FX, and focus groups... I’d say... a week or two, TOPS.

S.E.: Fuck, all right, but only because I owe you for getting me here when I was a janitor for “Caroline in the City.”

T.H.: “Who loves ya baby?”

S.E.: I know, I know. Now get the fuck out of my office. I’ve got a casting couch in 5.

********

Put simply, Guess Who is a crappy new comedy that is not only a horrible remake of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, but also manages to knock-off Meet The Parents—without the humorous parts. Chop it up, mix it all together and you get Guess Who.

Kutcher stars as Simon Green, a Wall Street trader who has recently quit his job prior to leaving for New Jersey with his newly minted fiancée, Theresa (the lovely, beautiful, and gorgeous Saldana, a potential third Mrs. Vile One). Simon worries that her family, especially his father, won’t accept him—not only because he is white, but unemployed. So he decides to hide the unemployment part from everybody. Of course there’s immediate friction between Simon and Theresa’s father, Percy Jones (Mac). And Simon, who can never quite keep his annoying mouth shut, manages to do the wrong thing at every turn. At first, Percy is also an asshole. But in the end, they come to accept each other and make huggies and kissies. That’s not a spoiler folks. It’s a foregone conclusion.

The concept and scenario here is just too ridiculous. I mean good God, he’s a freaking bean counter and Mac is a banker. Those are hardly two extremes like, for example, a male nurse and an ex-CIA agent. I didn’t find anything in the narrative convincing enough to sell the comedic material. All the problems in this movie come from people being dishonest over such trivial shit that it was just too ridiculous to swallow. And I understand that movies need problems and conflict that aren’t exactly normal everyday stuff in order to work, but this film is freaking pedestrian and amateurish. Looking at the filmography, I’m not surprised, since screenwriters Scherick and Ronn are responsible for equally horrible movies such as I-Spy, National Security, and Serving Sara. (Editor’s note: Sweet Jesus! See Ted Rholes’ scathing review of the latter film.)

None of the performances are particularly memorable or inspired. Kutcher is his usual goofy self, and doesn’t even appear to be trying. Mac is a talented comedian and performer, but he’s working with bullshit material rather than his own. Saldana does a fair job as the movie’s quasi-obligatory straight character and love interest, and she was the only character I really liked. But scenes in which she discusses the sexual anatomy of white guys... dunno... it was just as excruciating as the rest. And that’s what this flick is: excruciating.

And Guess Who will probably #1 this weekend. S’okay though, I still got my DVD of The Incredibles. I love you Brad Bird, don’t ever change.

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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