The Family Filmgoer
Friday, March 25, 2005; Page WE34
Sandra Bullock is an eminently likable star with a gift for comedy. But even she, reprising her role as FBI agent Gracie Hart, can't save this ill-conceived sequel, whose feeble plot literally drains it of all reason to exist. Teen audiences may still get a giggle out of watching Bullock cut up and match wits and fists with a tiny but fearsome fellow agent with "anger management issues" played by Regina King. "Miss Congeniality 2" shows head-banging, crotch-kicking fights and nonlethal gunplay. Some parents may object to the film's use of physical violence as a comical way of settling disputes. The movie also contains sexual innuendo; stereotyped gay humor; jokes about tampons, cramps and fake breasts; and a crude remark about using Tasers on genitals.
You want "Guess Who" to be better than it is -- smarter, edgier, funnier, deeper, more moving -- more of a real 2005 answer to the landmark 1967 film "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," which it references in its title. Still, this pitch-it-down-the-middle-and-offend-no-one comedy about an African American girl bringing a white boyfriend home to meet her parents manages a few good laughs, if not guffaws. And whereas most Hollywood comedies run out of steam in the third act, "Guess Who" actually builds up steam as it goes. Teenagers who appreciate character-driven humor and like stars Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher won't be disappointed. It helps that Mac and Kutcher are surrounded by strong supporting actors bringing full-blooded characterizations to a flat script. There is a lot of relatively mild sexual innuendo, understated homophobic humor and occasional profanity. A rare but cruder joke involves the alleged differences between black and white men's penises. One dinner scene includes a litany of racial jokes and slurs. Characters also drink and get tipsy.