Movie Reviews
3:43 pm
Sat February 4, 2006

Something New

Something New is something new.

"We have yet to deal successfully with American transraciality in real terms, as we have failed to redefine race in light of the modern, twenty-first century progress of human kind." Virginia Hamilton

The Detroit Free Press reports that 42.4% of black women have never been married. With that stat indicating marriage as a challenge for blacks, first-time feature director Sanaa Hamri and writer Kriss Turner deftly show the acrobatics a bright and accomplished young black professional woman, Kenya (Sanna Lathan), goes through before she finds the right man, in this case not an IBM (ideal black man), but rather a very white hunk Brian (Simon Baker), a landscape architect just too nice to be true.

The value of this film over recent black filmmaker attempts at comedy involving barbershop clients or hip-hop heroes is that as a romantic comedy, it is breezily enjoyable with much to say about lingering racism in love and work. For the former, it's now the blacks who are upscale, educated, and wary about a white deserving a place at their permanent table (Think the Huxtables as authentic blacks, not some white version of blacks for mainstream television). For the latter, uptight and anal Kenya is about to make partner in a prominent Los Angeles accounting firm but not before feeling she has to work doubly hard to get promoted because she's black.

Enter IBM Mark (Blair Underwood) to make Kenya's search for love even more complicated because he is so less a trouble than Brian, so a lawyer, so acceptable to her prominent parents (Dad a surgeon, of course), and so desirable in the eyes of her girl friends, whose "go-get- him-Girl" banter is humorous and important choral accompaniment for the drama.

Although the film has obvious moments of last year's Guess Who and the decades old Guess Who's Coming to Dinner with the feel of the popular Waiting to Exhale, it succeeds with dialogue about interracial romance and the universal struggle of substantial women to find substantial men.

Something New is something new.