Guess Who's Coming To Dinner to Meet the Parents
Every time "Guess Who" comes on TV it is always referred to as a modern twist on the classic "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", but it's not. It may use the basic idea of a daughter bringing a different nationality son home to meet her parents and twist it around so we have the white boy taken home to meet the proud black family but it's not a modern version of "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner". In fact you are better of comparing "Guess Who" to "Meet the Parents" because that is basically what it is but with some racial comedy, not angry racial comedy but sarcastic racial comedy. As such to say that "Guess Who" is obvious would be no word of a lie because it basically plays out in a very routine manner but then it is funny, actually it is funnier than I expected.
After 25 years Percy (Bernie Mac - Ocean's Twelve) and Marilyn Jones (Judith Scott) are renewing their vows and their daughter Theresa (Zoe Saldana) is bringing her boyfriend Simon (Ashton Kutcher - Cheaper by the Dozen) home to meet them. What Theresa hasn't told her parents is that Simon is white which certainly comes as a shock to Percy. With issues of race already complicating things Simon has a battle to impress Percy who takes an instant dislike to him and suspects that he has a secret. And when the truth comes out that Simon has left his job, something he kept from Theresa, everything gets messy as not only does Theresa walk out on Simon but Marilyn on Percy for his interfering. Now the two men must work together and get over any issues to win their women back.
So ignoring all the colour aspect of "Guess Who" for a moment and what you basically have is "Meet the Parents". We have Percy Jones taking a dislike to Simon because he is dating his daughter and takes delight in being hard on him, embarrassing him when ever he can and making him feel uncomfortable. And in a similar way to what we saw in "Meet the Parents" Percy thinks Simon is hiding something and so has him investigated. All of which plays out in a very routine manner with a lot of obvious gags although a few which lift it from being average such as Percy sharing Simon's bed to stop him from straying.
But then there is of course the other element of "Guess Who" which is the racial humour as Percy also dislikes Simon because he is white. But the humour on show isn't what you would call aggressive humour full of attitude, but more simple humour built around misunderstandings. And to be honest a lot of this simple humour is surprisingly good, even clever which to be honest is not exactly what you expect. And whilst all this colour based humour naturally leads to a positive message it doesn't try to be too preachy when it finally comes around to delivering it.
Not all the humour works and there are times when gags are thrown in which become too stupid. A gag revolving around go-karting ends up being too forced and goes too over the top in trying to be funny. And some of the bonding moments between Percy and Simon end up bordering on the corny but for the most it works.
And it works because both Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher put in decent performances creating characters that we warm too but for different reasons. Kutcher delivers plenty of charm as the prospective son in law just wanting to please Percy but ends up nervously getting plenty wrong. Whilst Mac delivers the hard father nicely being tough but also comical as he manipulates Simon in to making mistakes.
What this all boils down to is that "Guess Who" is a surprisingly enjoyable comedy which takes the basic boyfriend meeting the parents set up and then spicing it up with some colour gags but gags which are more about misunderstandings than aggression and attitude. It is not as many bill it a modern twist on "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" but an enjoyable twist on "Meet the Parents".