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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie
I am a white/Italian man newly married to a super black woman. We are both in our 40's and working professionals. We went to see this movie when it came out in the theaters, and then purchased the DVD when it came out. We both enjoyed the movie very much, I guess for obvious reasons. It's a positive and uplifting movie. There simply are not many movies that...
Published on July 30, 2007 by David J. Barile

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars -- a pleasant diversion, well acted, quality script
Interracial love and class confrontation is told from the black woman's perspective -- and from the perspective of her friends, peers and family -- in "Something New", a quality film that takes a new slant on an old topic. Racial issues are also front and center in the pic, although the traditional ideas about love and fulfillment predicatably come to the fore in the...
Published on March 19, 2007 by Larry VanDeSande

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52 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie, July 30, 2007
I am a white/Italian man newly married to a super black woman. We are both in our 40's and working professionals. We went to see this movie when it came out in the theaters, and then purchased the DVD when it came out. We both enjoyed the movie very much, I guess for obvious reasons. It's a positive and uplifting movie. There simply are not many movies that realistically try to present relationships involving a black woman and a white man---especially this movie which comes at you from the woman's perspective.

Although not perfect, the movie did a very good job portraying the hesitation, uncertainty, obstacles, unknown, pain, awkwardness, and yes, passion, excitement and humor, involved with inter-racial relationships. Both leading characters were very likeable and believable. (Who said Sanaa Lathan is not attractive and talented--you've got to be kidding??) Brian and Kenya's first meeting at Starbucks is priceless. You also just have to smile and laugh at the scenes involving Brian/Kenya and her hair---white men really don't know anything about black women and their hair!!

For me, one of the most telling scenes in the movie is when Brian and Kenya are arguing in the supermarket, and Brain states he does not want to "talk about race" that night. Kenya responds that "race" is something black people are forced to deal with every day and every night. This is something I did not appreciate as a white person until I married a black woman. When you are a black "minority" woman in a predominately white male world, you're forced to deal with race everyday, whether you want to or not. I have found this to be true with my own wife. Race is always something we are ready to talk about or deal with--but it does not dictate or drive our relationship/marriage.

Lastly, I believe black women--like all women--simply want a man that will treat them well and respect them. That's all Kenya wants in the movie. Some black women only want to date black men. Some black women are open to dating outside their race. Its all good. I know that there are many white men who are attracted to and interested in dating black women--but, for many reasons, they are very hesitant and unsure about going "down this path." The world continues to change for the better. It's not perfect and there is still a long way to go, but I remain optimistic. Inter-racial relationships are not for everyone, but for some like myself, it is worth the effort. It was worth the effort for Brian and Kenya.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Comedy with Some Social Insight. Good Date Movie., May 19, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
"Something New" is a romantic comedy with a social agenda. Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) is a workaholic investment banker with no time or patience for men. She yearns for companionship but has impossibly high -and very specific- standards. Urged by her friends to loosen up and "let go" of her concept of the ideal man, she agrees to a blind date arranged by a co-worker. If only the date were colorblind too. Kenya is set up with Brian Kelley (Simon Baker), a handsome, easy-going landscape architect who abandoned his corporate career to go into business doing what he loves. But Brian is white. Kenya is black. And white men are at the top of the list of things Kenya doesn't do. But she does need a landscaper for her new backyard. So she hires Brian, and their mutual attraction blossoms -to the variable horror and curiosity of Kenya's friends and family.

The moral of the story is that social conventions don't always know best in matters of the heart: You might find the companion you seek if you are open to other possibilities. Kenya and Brian's story is predictable, but Sanaa Lathan and Simon Baker are attractive and interesting to watch. The greater social insight of the film may be in Kenya's coterie of friends, all upper-middle class professional black women who fret over the dearth of suitable black men available to them. Their predicament and their views of men and race are interesting from the perspective of an outsider. White members of the audience will doubt Brian's willingness to tolerate the enormous chip Kenya carries on her shoulder. And he is more tolerant and self-sacrificing in the face of Kenya's self-absorption than is believable. But romantic comedies require some suspension of disbelief, and "Something New" is entertaining.

The DVD (Universal 2006): In "The Do's and Don'ts of Dating" (5 min), 8 members of the cast give their do's and don'ts of dating and relationships. "The Making of Something New" (11 min) features interviews with director Sanaa Hamri, writer Kriss Turner, producer Stephanie Allain, and the cast in which they talk about making the film and discuss the film's themes. Subtitles are available for the film in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A+ flim, February 4, 2010
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This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
I am not sure that I got the same thing out of the film that everyone else did. I am mulatto. So my opinion is the opinion of a mulatto observer.

I really liked this film, and I do believe that it is, in some aspects, very realistic. The thing that I found the most interesting in the film is that it not only depicts racism, but the movie bravely portrays the problems with reverse racism. The main character in this film is extremely racist (Kenya) and she does not know it. She treats Brain, her white boyfriend, with contempt in many scenes within the movie. She is unfair to him and blames him for the bad experiences that she has had with other white people in her life. The development in this movie comes when Kenya comes to terms with her own racism and stops projecting outward the feelings that she has herself. Everyone has to behave the way that they would like people to behave.

Brain is an educated man in a lower social class than the girl he is trying to date. His low status is displayed realistically. He is treated in an inferior manner because of his job--despite his his good character. He displays the most mature behavior of any character in the movie. He is completely untouched by racism even though he does not always understand the social implications. As a character, he is not a saint. He is ignorant of the damaging experience that black women experience on a daily basis, but he tries to understand. This character is probably the most beautiful that I have ever watched in any film; he tries. He is also extremely patient in the face of mistreatment, refuses to complain if he thinks it is nonconstructive, and looks constantly for the positive in the situation. He is an enlightened person and he does not have the status of a professional class job.

Kenya is anxious, very serious, and needs help handling stress. She is very competent and hard working. This is the first movie that I have ever seen in which the heroine is stressed for legitimate reasons. She is an over-achiever with an under developed personal life. She lacks interpersonal skills and suffers from unrealistic fears. She also does not know how to express her feelings so she attempts to hide her emotions behind a facade of social propriety. She appears as a boring person, but is very intriguing underneath the flat way that she projects herself because of her own feelings of inferiority. She suppresses herself because of the way that her self-esteem has been damaged by her white co-workers and the way that she believes other people perceive her. She does not see the positive in her life because she is over sensitive. This is an extremely realistic portrayal of an intelligent woman that faces adversity; the character displays common errors in thinking. I have also never come across a film in which the female had a serious relationship with her family. We usually get the orphaned heroine, but in this film all family members are alive and talking. That is unusual.

What I found to be less realistic is the cruel manner in which the blacks in this film treat a white man. I grew up in an interracial neighborhood. On the block that I lived most of my life on, four families had marriages that were interracial, and all those families had children. All their children also grew up to have children with either black or white spouses. Black people are often racist, but they are not so racist that they will insult a white partner at social events. That is extremely rude, and the cruel manner that Brain is treated by blacks, in my experience, is not realistic. It is a little extreme. I do not think that this detracts greatly from the film because the movie is pointing out a genuine difficulty-- even if it is an over dramatized one.

The board has a very interesting discussion on it. I just wonder if some of this controversy is not generational. I am a twenty-five year old mulatto female, and I have had problems with racism in relationships before, but the circumstances are different from in this movie (different religions or political beliefs). I have two kids from white fathers, and I was married to a white man. Interracial marriages are not that taboo anymore. My generation barely bats an idea at this type of thing so I am not sure why this heroine is agonizing over a relationship with a very kind and attractive man. I cannot understand the scandal here. People have issues around race, but it seems not to be so much of a factor in regard to who they are going to date. If anything, this is an old controversy.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely "Something" worth seeing!, July 5, 2006
I would hardly classify myself as a hopeless romantic, but I nevertheless really enjoyed this movie. This is the type of movie I wish "Guess Who" had been when it came out a few years ago. While "Guess Who" played the race card strictly for (forced) laughs, "Something New" delivers a message that touches upon, but ultimately goes beyond, race. Interestingly, some of the personal attacks that appear in a few negative comments on Amazon, demonstrate why Something New's message of openness, living and loving "outside of the box," is still so current and very much needed in our society. Generalized (and inaccurate) statements regarding white men's supposed lack-of-interest in black women, and classifying Tony Award-nominated thespian Sanaa Lathan as a "B-movie" actress, demonstrate that, unfortunately, the pre-conceived notions and stereotypes that Something new addresses are still very much alive and well. As a white woman, I am sure that I am not alone when I say that Hollywood is in desperate need of more movies like Something New.

Fortunately, like myself, the majority of professional and audience critics recognized this movie for the gem that it is. Sanaa Lathan has such magnetism that you can't take your eyes off her on screen. Not only is she obviously beautiful to look at, but she has an inherent screen presence rarely seen in actresses nowadays, of any race. Simon Baker is ridiculously handsome in grungy jeans and tee-shirts, and, instead of playing Brian purely as eye-candy, turns the leading man into a multi-dimensional character with flaws just like the rest of us (check out the break-up scene in the grocery store). And, as usual, Alfre Woodard effortlessly nails the role of Kenya's insufferable mother. The rest of the cast is a hoot, especially Kenya's brother Nelson, and her girlfriends.

If you are the type of person who was shocked by the original "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" or "Jungle Fever," then you might find Something New uncomfortable to watch, but that's all the more reason why you should. For the rest of us (hopefully, the majority) who can appreciate a solid movie with quality acting, and beauty/talent in all colors, shapes, and sizes, Something New will definitely not disappoint. Add this movie to your DVD collection.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I take it you don't do white guys,", May 19, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Something New is indeed "something new," a genuine romantic comedy with a sharp script and some laugh-out-loud moments mixed with some genuine pathos and sadness. The path to true love is fraught with inconvenience and obstacles; at least one would think so when watching Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan).

Kenya is on the fast track to making partner - but only at her law firm. Her personal life sucks. Where are all the eligible black men? She and her similarly high-achieving girlfriends chalk up their track record to the miserable statistics on the marriage prospects of professional African-American women. Apparently, only 42.4% of them ever marry.

But Kenya's real problem is that she has impossibly high standards, and she has a list of what she does and doesn't do, a mental index of uncomely attributes - bad teeth, poor education, kids, previously married. She seems to be convinced that she has to land an IBM: Ideal Black Man.

Kenya is also insufferably uptight, she wears a full work outfit on Saturdays, and complains to her friends about the "black tax," the idea that blacks have to work twice as hard to achieve the same accolades as their white peers. And just like the garden in the back of her newly purchased house, Kenya is just as dry and emotionally barren.

The man of her dreams arrives in the form of hunky blond haired and blue eyed Brian (terrific Tasmanian actor Simon Baker). They meet on a blind date, but because Kenya can't think outside the box and would never dream of dating a white guy, she tells him she's not interested. Coincidently, she meets him again and hires him to landscape her garden.

The more Brian wrestles manfully with a hoe, biceps bulging, the hotter Kenya gets under her starchy, buttoned-up collar. "You need me," Brian says when he first sees Kenya's pathetic garden, clearly meaning to make this stunning but chilly woman blossom along with the seedlings.

Obvious problems arise with the race card - not so much from Kenya's family and friends - but from her own views and insecurities over dating a white guy. Brian sees women as women, and looks beyond the skin colour, he's also remarkably laid back, almost spiritual in his outlook, and he sees Kenya as "a piece of work," she's absolutely gorgeous but seems damaged by her life experiences.

The two leads are enormously appealing and have obvious screen chemistry - Baker - an actor of formidable talents - is suitably earthy and sexy as Brian, whilst Lathan is absolutely gorgeous as Kenya. The film is also smart enough to address the economic gap between the two principals, which is considerable; and there's a class barrier as well as a racial one. And in a kind of reverse racism, Kenya's brother and his friends rib Brian for being white every chance they get.

This is a lovely, elegant and beautifully acted movie, the humor coming from the characters themselves as they grapple with their perceived limitations of living in the modern world. The movie also doesn't shy away from the subtle, everyday racism that has made Kenya so guarded and distrustful in the first place.

Yet when all is dead and done, true love conquers all, the colour of one's skin is superfluous, and both Brian and Kenya realize they are meant to be together. Something New is very smart and very entertaining, and if at times it hedges on matters of stereotyping and ethnic tension while focusing on the steamy love affair, then all the better. Mike Leonard May 06.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Something New' Shouldn't Be, July 28, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
...but it is. It's rather sad in this day and age that a romantic comedy (which is exactly what this film is) becomes some sort of treatise (in the eyes of the more cynical) on race relations. I have the feeling that much of the discomfort with this film has nothing to do with the film at all, and *everything* to do with our personal ambiguous feelings on interracial relationships, especially interracial relationships featuring black/white pairings. The first time I saw this film was in a mixed theater on L.A.'s Westside, and the myriad of reactions from the various filmgoers would be a grad thesis in itself.

Don't believe me - think back to all the bruhaha over Halle Berry's and Billy Bob Thornton's love scene in 'Monster's Ball'.

'Something New' does do something refreshing that very seldom happens in American cinema - black characters who transcend the stereotyped images so popular these days. Kenya (played by the talented and gorgeous Sanaa Lathan) is a lot closer to the reality of black life than what is seen in the media. There are many upwardly mobile and successful black women in this country (outside of Oprah of course).

As is the staple in many romantic comedies that feature white actors, Kenya's looking for Mr. Right, not knowing that Mr. Right just so happens to be the white landscaper, Brian (Simon Baker, who's just so darn sexy). The film is as much about the class differences between the white collar Kenya and the blue (or green) collar Brian as it is about their obvious racial differences.

Of course, it's understood that Kenya's idea of the perfect man certainly isn't of the 'caucasian persuasion', and the prerequisite jokes and barbs follow. Brian, on the other hand, simply sees this highly attractive and intelligent woman who just so happens to be black.

I think the film's most poignant moment (and the one that makes me hit the *replay* button) is when Brian tells her that her natural hair is far more attractive than the fake stuff she's been wearing. Talk about scoring big points with this 'natural sista'! My boyfriend (who's Mexican--I'm Black) reached over to me in the theater and ran his fingers through my short crop and whispered "they got that right".

And like all romantic comedies, this one wraps everything up in a nice, if not always tidy bow and sends the audience away with the faint hope that we're smart enough to see our shared humanity. Fluffy in parts, oh yes. Then again, who said that black films always have to be ghetto-fabulous and heavy-handed?

I hope we get a 'Something New 2' soon!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, Entertaining, Smart!, September 2, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
I read most of the reviews before posting mine and I feel that those who gave the movie one star were being unfair. Come on people, it's a movie. You can only fit so much into the plot. With that said, I think the movie was awsome. I watched it a few days ago and I'm still thinking about how good it was. I am in an interracial marriage; my husband is white and from a low social-ecomonic background. I'm black and from an upper-middle class environment. We met, fell in love and experienced most, if not all of the conflicts that the main characters in the movie have. So, all-in-all, I was impressed with the script, dialogue and acting. It was a thoughtful, sweet love story and for a motion picture, it got its point across very well.

Now, for those blasting Sanaa on her looks, you need to go get your eyes checked. She is absolutely beautiful. As for Simon, he is also a very handsome man.

If you're looking for a great movie to watch, this one is it. The writer did such a great job with character development given her time constraits. One thing that she should have done was let us in on his friends/family.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Following Your Heart: Something Old and Something New, May 18, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
SOMETHING NEW is one of those films that many will pass by thinking it is just another Chick Flick with a twist. Well, this little movie may be a romantic comedy but it is well written (Kriss Turner), well directed (Sanaa Hamri), and very well acted and has some down to earth important observations about interpersonal relationships...and, oh yes, it deal with interracial issues, beautifully!

Kenya (Sanaa Lathan - Best Man, Blade, The Wood, etc) is a beautiful Type A personality, an overachiever who is up for Partner in her Accounting Firm: she has no time to search for IMB (Important Black Man) as her list of qualifications is far too extensive. Her fellow professional girlfriends (Wendy Raquel Robinson, Golden Brooks and Taraji P. Henson - all superb!) encourage her to date to 'go with the flow' and a fellow business associate sets her up with a blind date - the very handsome, hunky, landscape architect Brian Kelly (Simon Baker - superb actor from Tasmania, Australia has starred in LA Confidential, Book of Love, The Ring Two, The Affair of the Necklace etc) - and despite the fact that Kenya refuses to consider dating any man who is not black, she does accept Brian's card and in no time hires him to landscape her new home.

The usual dating events occur: Simon is an educated, laid-back, tender, thoughtful, adventuresome male who happens to fall in love with the closely guarded Kenya; when introduced at parties Simon falls victim to prejudice form black men AND form Kenya's parents; Kenya gradually succumbs to Brian's charms and despite all misgivings they begin an affair. But peer pressures, work demands, and Kenya's self doubt jumble matters and she decides she must search for a black man. One 'just happens' to appear as Mark (Blair Underwood) and for a moment Kenya believes she has found her ideal - until her heart speaks up and she for the first time is honest with her emotions and follows her true heart's desire.

The apparent disparity between Kenya and Brian is handled in a sensitive and realistic way and Lathan and Baker have a sizzling screen chemistry. The supporting roles are in excellent hands: in addition to those mentioned above there are fine roles by Alfre Woodward, Earl Billings, Donald Faison, Mike Epps etc. This is a fine little film that approaches the touchy subject of black professional women who are unmarried ('42.4 Percent' was the working title) and for once shows an interracial film that is more a sound love story than a sermon. It is light, airy, important, and thoroughly entertaining! (This coming from a viewer who doesn't particularly care for Chick Flicks....!). Grady Harp, May 06
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just knew I would hate this movie..., July 8, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Usually when I see movies that have any kind of "race" plot, I end up getting mad. I end up shouting at the screen, "That ain't real!" or "Who wrote this? The Stereotype Preservation Society?" During this movie, I didn't yell once, I only laughed and shook my head in empathy.

When you're in an black / white relationship (speaking from experience and from being the product of such a relationship) race issues come up. From hair: "Oh my goodness, does this white guy know about weaves? Will he understand why I don't want to go swimming?" to coming home and needing to vent about some racist ish that happened at the office that day and / or the "black tax." to...well, too many things to list in a short review. This movie addresses them all BUT also shows that if you're in a relationship with a person who cares and is willing to learn and listen, the problems can be addressed and hopefully, overcome.

I loved the dialogue, the realness of the conversations black people have when alone and that black women have when talking about the slim pickings for marriage and the recent Washington Post article that states that over 40% of black women will never get married. The movie is just as much about the growth of the main character, Kenya, as it is a love story.

Most of us, like Kenya, have the "ideal man" in our head, but sometimes love comes to us in a crazy looking package. In the case of this movie, this package was a good-looking white guy who drives a truck and wants to bring his dog with him everywhere.

Yes, the movie is told mostly from Kenya's perspective, but another plus of this movie is that *every* perspective is respected. Even though this is a comedy, you may find yourself learning something and perhaps, even changing your own viewpoint along the way. Even though I identified with Kenya, I could feel Brian's frustration at wanting to get close to her, but not understanding some of her issues.

Without giving too much away, Something New has all the laughs of a comedy without skimming over the realness of matters of race and of the heart. The cliche is true: you'll laugh (it is a comedy, not a documentary on interracial love), you'll cry (okay, I did...maybe it's just me) but if you're sensitive about matters of race in Hollywood (like me) I promise you won't find yourself yelling at the screen in frustration.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something New is a good "old fashioned" love story..., September 25, 2006
This review is from: Something New (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
I have been married to my "Brian" for almost 20 years, and to those who may think that this film wasn't "real"- trust me, this was one of the most relatable films focusing on an IR relationship I have seen. I anticipated the typical over the top family and carictature couple, a la "Guess Who", and was pleasantly suprised by a smart, well-acted, and totally believeable story. The scene in which Brian asks Kenya the remove her weave almost knocked me out of my chair- had my own husband been a script consultant?? (he hates it when I staighten my hair) I would have like to have seen more of Brian's perpective, but the story still worked as it was Kenya who had to overcome her issues and her rigid expectations; you got the impression that Brian was a man who knew who he was and what he wanted and simply wouldn't have given a shirt what his family or friends thought.

Aside from the applaudable fact that this film is totally devoid of gansta rap, nudity, or violence, this delightful film provides single African-American sistas still holding out for their "dream brotha" with food for thought, but there is a lesson here for men and women of any race seeking any type of relationship. More than just another romantic comedy, this is story about learning how to open your mind and open your heart to experience "something new".
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Something New (Widescreen Edition)
Something New (Widescreen Edition) by Sanaa Hamri (DVD - 2006)
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