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Something New


Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Simon Baker, Mike Epps, Blair Underwood, Taraji P Henson

Director: Sanaa Hamri

A classic example of how not to make an interracial romantic comedy. Account executive Kenya McQueen (Lathan) has a chip on her shoulder about being black, and will only date black men. Her firm regards her as a valuable asset, but Kenya still believes she has to work twice as hard as her white colleagues.

This workaholic paranoiac is the last person to send on a blind date with a white man, so she's shocked by landscape gardener Brian (the impossibly handsome Baker) and storms off.

Still, Brian persuades her to let him do up her briar patch of a back garden, and things take off from there, as first-time director Hamri zooms in on Brian's muscles while he labours, in the first of several embarrassing attempts at eroticism, which include Kenya being turned on by a heavily suggestive routine at the ballet.

Never mind, Brian says 'I take hard earth and make things bloom' (nudge, nudge), and in no time he and Kenya are blossoming all over the place.

Mysteriously revered by American critics, this is weak, cringeworthy and often laughable, with atrocious dialogue - 'We're cutting ourselves off from our universal abundance' - shocking direction and dizzying camerawork. Only the scenes at Kenya's office begin to work at all.

Alfre Woodard as her mother gives a hysterical performance far from the witty glories of her TV series Desperate Housewives. It's like a soft-porn movie without the porn.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: UIP (Focus). Colour by De Luxe.
99 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 18 Nov 2006