Review – Guess Who (2005)

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guess-who-55da0ec2a2f1bWelcome to Meeting the Parents Week: Day 4. For some odd reason, I was never allowed to watch Guess Who as a kid. At the same time, the first movie I ever saw was rated R and I had seen all of the terminators and Air Force One multiple times, so how bad could a PG-13 comedy really be? I was allowed to see Meet the Parents no problem. Could it be…because…they’re black in this? I mean, if so, that’s horrible. After I initially was not allowed to watch the film, I vowed to watch it someday in spite of that rule, and I did. I’ve seen it probably three different times at this point, and I’m glad I have, this movie is funny. Out of all of the films centered on meeting parents for the first time that I watched this week, I have to say Meet the Parents and Guess Who were the best – as their humor is remarkably similar but different at the same time. Let’s talk about the plot.

Percy and Marilyn are renewing their vows for their anniversary, and their daughter, Theresa, brings her boyfriend, Simon, for them to meet. Unbeknownst to her parents, the kids plan to announce their engagement during the weekend. The Jones family is Black; Theresa neglects to tell them Simon is White. Race complicates Percy’s general mistrust of any boyfriend, so he instigates an investigation of Simon, discovering he’s recently lost his job and hasn’t told Theresa. Mistrust rears its ugly head, and in the process of Theresa and Simon’s argument, Marilyn and Percy fall out. What can the men do to cross the divide between each other and between men and women? Will anyone be exchanging vows? (IMDb)

So, there were equal similarities and differences with the two aforementioned films. It’s clearly an awkward meeting of the parents, but it’s actually much more. Race is obviously involved in why the boyfriend is not trusted, but it also has a very strong story revolving around the romance between the parents, too. That is something Meet the Parents never really had – a big focus on two different relationships that sort of mirror each other and add to the general plot, so that was pretty good, but what really works out well is the humor. I am pretty positive that Ashton Kutcher was pretty much on par with Ben Stiller when it came to awkward humor. He’s not always the best guy for a role, and while he wasn’t the best actor in the world, he was definitely awkward, which is ultimately what I wanted to see – awkward, yet remarkably relatable.

So, that’s basically my first impressions, let’s dig deeper, though, and break it all down to interpret the stars.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2

A lot of things that are a part of the people category can be compared to Meet the Parents. The acting itself is never an alluring aspect of Guess Who, and come to think of it, there isn’t a ton of importance laid upon some of the female characters, either. It was really just zoned in on Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher’s roles. Everything else seemed in place, though. These are all pretty memorable and hilarious characters for their own reasons, and as weird as it seems, I think everyone was perfectly cast, as well. Plus, none of the subcategories in the people score would really work without the chemistry between everyone, and there was certainly something to admire there.

WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2

The only slight flaw in the writing category was simply the fact that it wasn’t super original. Yes, it is a remake and yes, it is easily comparable to Meet the Parents, but at the same time, there are enough qualities in this film to at least make it feel fresh enough to note. The dialogue in the film is fantastic, as I believe the comedy did its job in leading up to some truly awkward but hilarious scenes. The balance of the film was perfect, as it told one solid story from beginning to end, never faltering into convolution. The story is like Meet the Parents, but there’s more to it – this is not only about the love of two people about to get married, but two people who are always fighting for their love. Finally, is it interesting? I have no problems saying it is, yeah.

BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 1|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1

Now, we head behind-the-scenes, where we continually learn why comedies never win any big awards. They focus so much on humor that they don’t really care about these things. The visuals are fine and typical, nothing about the directing or editing looked compelling or challenging. The music itself was okay, and I could pick it out of a lineup, but it isn’t enough for me to want to buy a soundtrack because even though it is memorable to a degree, it’s still goofy comedy music. Finally, I do consider this an as-advertised film.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 10/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 2

The narrative structure, on the other hand, hit all the right spots. The introduction did a fantastic job at introducing us to both the young and older couple and how they are in normal, everyday life, it then heads to the inciting incident, which is when the two ultimately meet under a very awkward, racially-charged meeting. As with most comedies like this, the obstacles are what most of the film is all about, the climax has a good example of how climaxes should be – a culmination of everything that transpired before it, and the falling action brings us back to a new normal – making this a perfectly scored category.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 6/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 1|Impulse/Talk – 0|Sucks you in – 1

Remember, I don’t need a perfect score on this category. A perfect score means I practically melted in my seat because the movie blew me away in so many ways. A 6/10 means this movie was pretty decent and I had a lot of fun with it, as you can see by my score sheet above. I’ve seen it at least three times now, so yes, it is rewatchable, and as I’ve just said, it is also a lot of fun in general. I wouldn’t mind owning this, but I can’t really see me buying it at this point. It does sometimes suck you in while you watch it, but not throughout the film, and I don’t really think you’ll have any sort of strong urge to tell somebody about the film, either. So, take that as you will!

TOTAL SPECIAL – 45/50
Meeting the Parents – 10|Comedy – 10|Romance – 10|Ashton – 5|Memory – 10

Now for the specialty questions that I asked before watching the movie. As it is Meeting the Parents Week, how does this film fit that theme? I would say perfectly well, it is one of the best films that meet that theme’s requirements. How was the comedy? Likewise, I think this is one of the best films that meet those requirements as well, as this was a very funny movie that will have you laughing out loud. How about the romance aspect? Like I said before, the very fact that it focused on both relationships in the family made this film slightly more smart about its writing. How was Ashton Kutcher in the film? Well, I can’t really say this is one of his best movies since he really acts the same in everything that he’s in, so I only give half points for that. Finally, does it hold up to memory? Yes.

TOTAL – 84/100

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