Film Analysis Guess Who and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

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The Hollywood movie "Guess Who" (2005) is a remake of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" (1967). Both film's premises are about the same situation of an interracial marriage. The original revolved around a daughter bringing her black fiancée to meet her white middle class family. This was a touchy and even controversial subject in 1967 but the film became an award winner. The 2005 update switches the roles around and with a stroke of genius we now have a white fiancée meeting a black family. Personally, I don't think that 2005 Ashton Kuthcher's film is an appropriate update. It might be a fun movie but I don't think that it is fair to describe it as a remake of "Guess who's coming to dinner". It lacks the depth and the timeliness of the original and, as a consequence, does not do it justice. Perhaps the most interesting thing about "Guess Who" is its inability to convince the audience that interracial marriage is a big deal. That could mean the film lacks imagination, or it could mean that society is growing more tolerant. The original film was made to educate the coarse, unenlightened masses. The great thing about the original film is that the gorilla is dealt with and addressed and even teaches us a valuable lesson about humanity and race. The new film doesn't even try.

It's impossible to discuss a movie like "Guess Who" and not mention race. The foundation of the film is, after all, based on a cultural bias that still exists against interracial marriages. The hostility of the '60s and '70s is gone, but an element of suspicion remains. "Guess Who" gets some of its comedic energy from the racial clash.

This movie has the potential to fall into all of the stereotypes we have come to expect from black and white comedies. There is a little of that: Kutcher's character is goaded into telling black jokes at dinner with Theresa's family that includes her racially intolerant grandfather and Mac's character lies about his daughter's boyfriend to an employee...
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