Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Something New

Something New
Starring:
Sanaa Lathan, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Simon Baker,
Donald Faison, Mike Epps and Blair Underwood


Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: February 3, 2006 Released by: Focus Features

This new romantic comedy may appeal to fans of Waiting To Exhale and the more recent Guess Who.

Sanaa Lathan is the likeable black actress who guides Something New as a career-minded woman trying to make a connection outside her high-profile accounting firm.

Her Kenya Denise McQueen is not uncommon according to the scenario set up by female scripter Kriss Turner. Apparently, the Detroit Free Press has reported that over 40% of black women are unmarried. She's a senior manager very close to making partner, but is looking for her IBM (Ideal Black Man).

So, Kenya's friends, led by Cheryl (Wendy Raquel Robinson) set her up on a blind date at Los Angeles's Magic Johnson Starbucks.

Her "love match" turns out to be a white man, Brian Kelly (Simon Baker of The Ring Two). Their date isn't a success, but the landscape artist is just right to help Kenya with her dreary backyard.

Though Lathan is as attractive as she's been in other films like Brown Sugar and Love & Basketball, the director, Sanaa Hamri and editor Melissa Kent let her down. It's hard not to see that sequences have been moved and eliminated in a way that disrupts the flow of a story that relies more on everyday characters than broad or physical banter.

That's not to say that Lathan and Baker aren't good together onscreen at times, especially in an unusual intimate close-up and Hamri, known for her music videos, presents some downtown locations flavorfully. The title, however, proves ironic, in this not so original observation that taps into a genre not nearly done as well as in other urban-minded comedies like The Best Man.

The supporting cast has some good lines, including Donald Faison as a womanizing outspoken brother, Mike Epps as Cheryl's significant other, and an understated Blair Underwood who complicates things as an urbane, "perfect match."

There is a funny spur-of-the-moment with Kenya and a spider and at a cotillion where attitudes suddenly shift in a contrived climax. With plenty of thoughtfulness on relationships for Valentine's Day, the attitude of race never relates as well as it should when there should have been less talk about it.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Something New B     C C-     C+

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