Something New Reviews
The potentially tough subject of interracial dating, with cultural differences, is bravely taken on here by director Sanaa Hamri.
While there are often subcultures in any racial group, I really haven't seen much of the kind of black subculture portrayed in this.
Simon Baker's character Brian Kelly is not the rich and dominant type. Instead, he's like his waggy-tailed dog: almost too good-natured and tolerant. A lover, not a fighter. He puts up with quite a bit from his love interest Kenya McQueen, played by Sanaa Lathan.
Interestingly, the director's first name is also Sanaa. What are the odds?
While Brian is driving to Kenya's to look at her backyard for a possible landscaping project, he is listening to something ethnic, presumably North African or Middle Eastern music, loudly. Perhaps the director loves that stuff, but...it seems like an oops that a white American man would be listening to it like that, but who knows?
Kenya is a picky and prickly woman, but apparently Brian likes this type, because he's patient, persistent, and going out of his way to give it every chance to happen, in spite of her obvious reluctance and prejudice against dating white men. She finds herself falling for Brian, in spite of her hopes to find the perfect black man. Clearly, in this one, the black girl is the one with racial prejudice, while the white guy is a very tolerant open-minded racially open type of guy. He even prefers her naturally curly hair over the long straight weave. The optimistic Brian helps bring some color and beauty into Kenya's drab and controlled life.
Kenya realizes she just can't do this interracial dating thing; it's complicated. She cuts Brian loose just as her dream man, Mark Harper played by Blair Underwood, shows up. Dating Brian helped her learn more about herself and what she really wants, and she is starting to see things differently.
It's fun to see Simon Baker take on a challenging role like this and make it look surprisingly easy. I give Sanaa Lathan credit too; it takes some guts to do a role like this.