Movie. Guess Who, 2005.

Posted by T on April 12, 2007
By Title, Movies

This is a sort of remake of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, with the races of the young couple swapped.

However, the intervening forty years have brought massive changes to the mores of society, and this is reflected in the mores of the movie. The triumph of the sexual revolution that was just beginning there is now complete: normalized, institutionalized, expected: fornication, cross-dressing, girls talking about things I can’t mention on a blog, and vulgarities too numerous to list assault the viewer. The disrespect of parents begun there continues, as both girl and mother shush the father (Bernie Mac) (22). In addition, the stereotype reversal continues as before: it is the Negro father who is concerned about a young man having a job and good credit.

Unlike the 1967 version, Christianity has crept back into the picture a bit: the family actually says grace before the meal. But the tacit assumptions of the surrounding culture are such that this is Christianity in its most purely antinomian form. The outward blustery concern to prevent fornication under his roof still, in the end, is surrounded by a wink-wink acceptance of the ethical presuppositions of it. Even the man-made “law” that is invoked — “there’s no liquor: this is a Christian home…” — has to be modified a moment later when liquor is discovered: “… full of sinners.”

As a result, where GWCTD was pure evil, this movie is too vulgar and trivial to be worthy of such a verdict. It is too small and idiotic to rise to the level of real evil.

I don’t bother to summarize the plot. There is no plot. It is only to point out the hypocritical asymmetry of racial reference that I mention the film at all.

They are sitting around the table, and they decide to swap jokes of racial reference. White boy Ashton Kutcher describes several race jokes from his circle, but, beyond belief, always uses the term black man, never nigger. But grandpappy comes back with all of these terms:

  • honky
  • flat-ass
  • caspar
  • cracker
  • ofay
  • peckerwood
  • wonder bread

and even the completely made-up, Bird $h!t.

In short, the film is hypocritical and dishonest. Though it tricks a laugh or two out of you, it is such a sustained assault on the sensibilities that I cannot recommend a viewing. I felt the need to mention it at all only as a reading of the barometer of our popular culture.


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