Guess Who

Matt was excited to watch Ellen last week, a particular episode celebrating the 20th anniversary of her sitcom’s coming out episode. He and I reminisced on the episode and how very 90s it was in its approach to homosexuality. Last year we saw a movie at an LGBTQ film festival that felt very 90s in its approach, which really disappointed us. You would hope by this day in age that we no longer have to assure people that gay isn’t something you can catch, and that it doesn’t make you queer to support someone who is, and “tolerating” someone else’s sexuality is really pretty basic.

I just watched the equivalent in a movie about race, a film that feels miles out of date beyond its 2005 release. Guess Who is the inverse remake of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, but without any of the thought or the grace.

Theresa (Zoe Saldana) brings her boyfriend home to meet the parents. She hasn’t told them that Simon (Ashton Kutcher) is white – and that turns out to be a bad gamble when 536_m1225688364dad Percy (Bernie Mac) goes ballistic. Not to say that there’s not friction about interracial relationships anymore; that’s clearly not the case. Jordan Peele had a thing or two to say about them in this year’s Get Out. But Guess Who is a dinosaur, an anachronistic way of looking at the world that’s cringe-worthy in its assumptions (it also manages to be misogynist and homophobic in its first 10 minutes). The only good thing to come out of it was Zoe Saldana, who has had a successful (and redeeming) career – and no one who’s seen this would say she hasn’t paid her dues. She’s paid in full.

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner is a lot to live up to, and you don’t begin to do it with the likes of Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher, whose red kabbalah bracelet had to be digitally edited out of the movie to the tune of $100K. Starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, and Sidney Poitier, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner struck a nerve in America. Miscegenation laws were literally just being struck down (thanks to Loving!), and the film was still being shown in theatres when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated (which necessitated a quick edit of the film – one scene mentions him by name).

Compared to Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which was groundbreaking in its time, Guess Who lacks social relevance. It’s a dead fish. And it’s not even funny.

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12 thoughts on “Guess Who

  1. Liz A.

    I had been curious about this one as I loved Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and I’m a sucker for remakes. I prefer good remakes (if one can find them), but remakes are a weakness of mine. Glad I haven’t made it to see this one yet.

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  2. Sarca

    “You would hope by this day in age that we no longer have to assure people that gay isn’t something you can catch, and that it doesn’t make you queer to support someone who is, and “tolerating” someone else’s sexuality is really pretty basic.”
    You would be surprised, my dear…so very surprised. *smh I have close friends and family in the LGBT community and also some very homophobic people close to me. It is so difficult to stifle myself around them – try to reason with them – because they are old and set in their ways, and it’s wasted breath…

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    1. Jay Post author

      It really is. It’s sometimes startling to realize that although a lot of the same problems remain, the way we talk about them are different. Or at least they should be.

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  3. J.

    Oooft. Horrendous. Haven’t seen it, but I knew how this would play out when I read the synopsis. All in the name of shits and giggles, eh?

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  4. Tom

    It cost $100k to digitally edit out a wrist thingy? Why do I feel like that is more than what it would cost to digitally edit out Ashton Kutcher. From everything he’s ever been in.

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