Guess Who (2005)

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Released 26-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio
Outtakes
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-Love Is The Melody
Web Links
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 101:07
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (39:25) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Bernie Mac
Ashton Kutcher
Zoe Saldana
Judith Scott
Hal Williams
Kellee Stewart
Robert Curtis-Brown
RonReaco Lee
Paula Newsome
Phil Reeves
Sherri Shepherd
Nicole Sullivan
Jessica Cauffiel
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music John Murphy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
English for the Hearing Impaired
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Portuguese
Russian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
Russian Titling
English Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Hollywood has been criticised in recent years for lacklustre films and being somewhat bereft of new ideas. A case in point seems to be Guess Who, which is clearly a remake of sorts of the classic 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner which starred legendary actors Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

In Guess Who the races are switched, and instead of the white girl introducing the African-American boyfriend to her white parents we have the African-American girl introducing the white boyfriend to her affluent African-American family. In this case we have Ashton Kutcher as Simon Green, the boyfriend. Simon is a successful Wall Street trader on the way up but one who has just quit his job. He must meet the parents of his girlfriend Theresa played by Zoe Saldana who is an artist. Theresa’s father Percy, played by comedian Bernie Mac, is a bank loans officer who has already run a credit check on Simon and thus knows he is not only worth a bundle but also that he is newly unemployed. Rounding out the main cast is Judith Scott as Theresa's mother.

On the cab ride over to Theresa’s parents, where they plan to announce their engagement at a party where her parents will renew their vows, Simon learns that Zoe has not told her parents that he is white and she keeps insisting it doesn’t matter. The black cab driver looks at them in his rear view mirrors and says “It’s gonna matter”, and indeed it will. Things get off to a bad start when Percy automatically assumes that the black cab driver is his daughter’s new boyfriend. When Percy realises his mistake he will try his best to demonstrate that Simon is not right for his daughter. For instance, at dinner Percy successfully pressures Simon into telling some racist jokes and is then convincingly offended when those jokes go too far.

While not as controversial an issue as it was in 1967 when Stanley Kramer made Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, inter-racial dating and marriage is obviously still a somewhat contentious issue in America. At least that’s the impression you’d get if the few Jerry Springer shows I’ve channel surfed upon are any indication. Personally I’ve never really understood the whole interracial relationship thing. I grew up with interracial marriages in my family and I’ve dated women of other races but I guess it’s still a divisive topic for some.

Whereas Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner took a more serious look at the issues facing inter-racial relationships, Guess Who plays it purely for a few uncomfortable laughs. Aside from the racial issue this is a very conventional romantic comedy.

One interesting titbit of information I learned while researching this film is that Ashton Kutcher wore a red Kabbalah bracelet during the shooting of the film. Apparently the producers decided this might be distracting to the audience and reportedly spent around $100,000 removing it with CG.

If a few laughs on a Friday night and a feel good ending (could it go any other way?) are what you are looking for then Guess Who is a not a bad way to spend an hour or two. Just don’t expect any serious examination of its subject matter.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

Guess Who is presented with a very Solid Transfer.

The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which matches the original theatrical aspect ratio of the film. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

The image exhibits a pleasing level of sharpness and detail. The image is smooth and very film-like in appearance. Some fine film grain is present but never distracting. Mild edge enhancement was observed in the transfer, such as at 6:13 (window frames) and 8:25 (the outline of Bernie Mac’s body). Shadow detail is generally quite good although the blacks are a bit greyish in some night scenes such as at 58:27. No low level noise was observed in the transfer.

Colours were always very well saturated and accurate and seemed natural at all times.

No MPEG artefacts were observed and aliasing was also not an issue with the transfer. The film print used is very good and I didn’t notice any obvious dirt or print damage.

There are a plethora of subtitle options on this disc. I sampled the English subtitles which are white and reasonably easy to read. The subtitles match quite well with the onscreen dialogue.

The transfer is presented on a dual-layer disc with RDSL formatting. The layer change occurs at 39:25 which happens during a cut within a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The sound quality of the soundtrack is very good and the mix is very effective.

The English soundtrack on this DVD is Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 Kb/s.

Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand with no noticeable audio sync issues.

The surround channels, while not used extensively, are employed very effectively to add ambience and atmosphere to the soundtrack. A few scenes utilised the surrounds a little more aggressively such as a bustling city scene at 5:35 where the surrounds are used to great effect to surround the listener with the sound of the city.

Subwoofer activity is well restrained and only used where necessary such as at 58:26 where it’s put to excellent use during a thunder storm.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

This is one of the growing number of DVDs that opens with the annoying “Piracy: It’s a Crime” commercials. At least on this one you can skip past it. Still very annoying though. Once you finally get to the main menu there are a modest collection of extras included on the disc.

Menu

The Menus are static images and are 16x9 enhanced.

Gag Reel (4:00)

As the title suggests this is a collection of clips featuring the cast either fluffing their lines or generally mucking around in front of camera. Presented 16x9 enhanced, the video quality is very good for this sort of thing but not quite as good as the video quality of the main feature. The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Deleted Scenes (9:02)

This is a series of deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from director Kevin Rodney Sullivan. The director comments on why the scenes were removed and also makes general remarks about them. Like the Gag Reel the video is 16x9 enhanced and of quite good quality. The sound is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Love is the Melody: The Making of Guess Who (20:40)

Presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 this is not 16x9 enhanced. It’s a fairly typical promotional making of featurette. Note however that his pretty much gives away the entire story so don't watch this until you've watched the film already. If you were to believe the banter of cast and crew you’d believe this to be a very deep film which seriously investigates issues of race. If only the final film was half as good as they seemed to believed it to be this could have been a really good film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 release includes the same features as our Region 4 disc but also includes an audio commentary with the director and some trailers. The Region 1 also includes a French soundtrack but has fewer subtitle options while the Region 4 contains a Russian soundtrack and many more subtitle options. Given the addition of the audio commentary the Region 1 is the version of choice.

Summary

If a few laughs on a Friday night and a feel good ending are what you are looking for then Guess Who is not necessarily a bad way to spend an hour or two.

The Video transfer is quite good.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is restrained but well executed.

A modest collection of extras is provided but is not as complete as the Region 1 version.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplaySony KVDR29M31 68cm PROGRESSIVE SCANNING. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

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