Plot: What’s it about?
The ritual of meeting your loved one’s parents for the first time can be quite stressful, even under the best of circumstances. After all, the parents are sure to watch your every move and analyze your every comment, in order to find out more about their child’s significant other. So imagine if the situation was made even more tense thanks to circumstances you didn’t know existed, at least not until you were on your way to dinner. Simon Green (Ashton Kutcher) is a successful Wall Street worker, but he has recently left his job, which his fiancee Theresa (Zoe Saldana) doesn’t know, but her father does. You see, her father Percy (Bernie Mac) is a banker and he ran a credit check on Simon, to discover he is now unemployed. But Theresa has a secret neither man knows, as she hasn’t told her proud black parents that Simon is white. When the couple arrives for dinner, will her parents be able to accept Simon, or will the shock be too much?
In case you don’t know, Guess Who is loosely based on the dramatic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, a movie that dealt with a most serious topic. In that movie, a white woman brings home a black man to meet her parents, with a dramatic tone. In Guess Who, a black woman brings home a white man to meet her parents, but the tone is slapstick. If you ever told me I’d see Ashton Kutcher in the role once played by Sidney Poitier, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are. Guess Who could have worked, if the filmmakers were bold and walked a fine line with the material. Instead, outside of a couple of instances, this is as safe as can be, with no real racial issues explored, even in shallow fashion. If the entire movie could have been as brave as a dinner scene with the black jokes, Guess Who could have been good. But instead, we have an overly safe and in the end, bland motion picture that is hard to recommend.
Video: How does it look?
Guess Who is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I noticed some mild compression errors here and there, though I don’t think this will serve to distract from the movie. The colors look bright and never become oversaturated, while flesh tones appear natural and consistent at all times. I saw no problems with the contrast either, as shadows seemed complex and detail is high and rich. Not the best day & date work I’ve seen from Sony, but still a more than solid treatment.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is your basic dialogue driven comedic soundtrack, though a few bells & whistles knock it up a notch. I still wouldn’t mark this as a high end mix, even by normal comedy standards, but there is some life in the audio here. The included Dolby Digital 5.1 option puts the surrounds to use, but not that often and for the most part, this is a front channel experience. That is not a complaint however, as the overall presentation is terrific. I noticed a lot of effective channel separation, which adds a lot of depth to the material. No troubles with dialogue either, as vocals are well handled and have a clean, smooth presence. So not a dynamic soundtrack in terms of surround use, but a well crafted and more than passable treatment. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Kevin Rodney Sullivan starts us off with an audio commentary, one I expected to be brisk and light, but turns out to be more technical. He focuses on aspects such as camera mechanics, lighting design, and other more technical details, which makes for an interesting session. I enjoyed this track a lot more than if he would have just told stories about the cast, which is what often happens on sessions for comedies. This disc also includes a brief featurette, a reel of outtakes, and a selection of deleted scenes.