Guess Who Kevin Rodney Sullivan

The idea of a brightly-lit comedy with Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher is terrifying; the idea of starring them in a racially-tinged retread of Meet the Parents is even worse. But in its own modest way, Guess Who is better and more rewarding than either of those bad ideas. Kutcher plays a white banker planning to marry the black Zoë Saldana; unfortunately, she fails to mention this fact to her family, especially her hard-ass father (Mac). Thus the stage is set for a comedy of errors as the parents are visited, insults are exchanged and father and would-be son-in-law square off. The first surprise is the chemistry between Mac and Kutcher, who redeem themselves for any number of flops with their unusually nuanced performances. The second is that this is a Hollywood comedy that makes a passing attempt at dealing with the issues beyond bumper-sticker sloganeering. The script performs the neat trick of suggesting how father could perhaps mistrust suitor without letting the former off the hook, while also showing how the latter can dig a deep hole for himself with the best of intentions — it's not Charles Burnett, but it's practically miraculous from the town that brought us Bringing Down the House. Nobody will mistake it for mastery, but it's that rare pop artefact that defuses meanness instead of embodying it, and for that it deserves our respect and gratitude. Extras include a feature commentary by Kevin Rodney Sullivan (who's perhaps a little too credulous of the material), seven deleted scenes with optional director's commentary, a 20-minute "making of" featurette that could be better and worse, and a gag reel. (Columbia/Sony)