Something New (2006), a new romantic perspective on old prejudices
Something New is a 2006 romantic comedy written by Kriss Turner, directed by Sanaa Hamri and stars Sanaa Lathan, Mike Epps, Simon Baker, Donald Faison, Alfre Woodard, Earl Billings and Blair Underwood.
The film explores the complexities of relationships, family values, customs and expectations.
Kenya (Lathan) is an educated professional who has dedicated all her time to work. She is single and cannot seem to find the perfect man which is most likely because of her (and her friends) ideas of an ideal black man (IBM) or as she would say ‘brother’ – she even has a list of attributes!
On Valentine’s Day one of her colleagues sets her up on a blind date with someone she only presumes to be a ‘brother’ but to her surprise her date turns out to be a landscape architect named Brian Kelly (Baker) – a white guy!
This film is satirical commentary on the complexity of interracial relationships and explores deep rooted family values. Kenya’s brother, Nelson (Faison), alludes to the date with racial slurs like “skiing the slopes” or “sleeping with the enemy”. He and her friends believe that color and race is an important factor in love.
The parents, Joyce (Woodard) and Edmond (Billings), also expect their daughter to fall in love and marry an African-American of high social standing.
Even Kenya herself expects the person that she falls in love with to be black. However, when she starts developing feelings for Brian she finds that all her social values are pitted against her heart.
The onscreen chemistry between Lathan and Baker is like a blend of fine coffee with full cream milk and makes this film work for me.
Unlike Lathan’s strong and independent character in Alien v. Predator this character is so sensitive to social pressure. She only allows no one to see her beyond a certain point and is never completely open. In the scene where Baker and her are lying in bed, and he asks her if she could remove her weave is an example of her ajar personality.
Baker’s character is open to almost anything and anyone. We see thing in everything he does. He listens to Arab music and when asked his preference in women, he replies by saying “women are women, some are poison, some are sweet”.
The additional input from the cast members also sweetens the deal especially when comics Epps tries to impress the ladies or when Faison introduces his ever changing girlfriends to his family.
Something New is about socially landscaping our minds to certain stereotypes and prejudices and may just change your mind about something new.