Like Husbands and Wives, to which it is otherwise utterly dissimilar, this pleasant but fairly plastic comedy is a tabloid footnote. If Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson hadn’t met and fallen in love on the set, he wouldn’t have ditched his wife and made a fool of himself at Whoopi’s Friars Club roast (only to break up with her not long afterward). Anyway, Whoopi and Ted do strike sparks together, and the movie is painless, if a bit too dependent on goofy-white-people jokes.
Whoopi is a very Afrocentric bookstore owner whose brilliant daughter (Nia Long) was the result of artificial insemination — and the donor, it seems, was a lunkheaded car salesman (Ted, doing a Joe Bob Briggs turn). As usual, director Richard Benjamin aims dead up the middle but also works generously with his cast, including Paul Rodriguez as a fellow salesman, Jennifer Tilly as Ted’s airhead girlfriend, and especially the scene-stealing Will Smith (when he was still just the Fresh Prince).
The point, not overly explicit, is that if this couple — an Afrocentric woman and a crass redneck — can fall in love, anyone can. But has anyone else noticed the apparent subtext that black men are unstable and unreliable, and only a white man can be sensitive to a black woman’s needs? The film cleaned up at the box office despite one of the cheesiest ad campaigns in recent memory. Food for thought.