Hollywood Product - Something New

Genre: Urban romantic comedy.

The pitch: Kenya Denise McQueen (Sanaa Lathan), a proud African-American professional, is on a mission to find lasting love. But she and her circle of friends and family are shocked to discover that she’s falling for Brian Kelly (Simon Baker), a working-class landscaper who just happens to be white.

Flesh Factor: Brian’s bulging biceps get the close-up treatment as he uproots a tree in Kenya’s garden. While attending the ballet, Kenya is treated to an arousing, gyrating performance by two scantily clad dancers.

Wedding Factor: It’s hard to imagine a romantic comedy without at least one wedding scene, and Something New is no different. The film actually features three weddings, including one dream sequence and a Jewish ceremony.

Literary references: In an effort to make fun of Kenya’s fear of spiders, Brian gives her a copy of the book Charlotte’s Web — which, by crossing out part of the title with a Sharpie, he renames Kenya’s Web.

Celluloid references: After making love for the first time, Kenya and Brian hold hands in a manner that instantly invokes the intertwined-finger image made famous in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever.

Hit Singles: New tracks by soulful Atlanta artists Cee-Lo Green and Van Hunt.

Fun facts: Something New’s star, Sanaa Lathan, and the film’s director, Sanaa Hamri, share the same — quite uncommon — first name.

Race card: Embracing stereotypes, Kenya sports a long weave that she’s scared to get wet. She’s also afraid of dogs and is usually surrounded by an “amen corner” of women who spout off clichéd dialogue from the “girl, please” school of screenwriting.

The bottom line: Populated with a congregation of one-dimensional characters and an amazingly predictable plot, Something New fails to shed new light on the complexities of interracial romance. Sure, not all black-white relationships crash and burn like the one in Jungle Fever, but Something New’s resolution is so ultra-sugary sweet, it’s almost dreamlike.

Opens: Fri., Feb. 3.
3 Stars