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Laura San Giacomo
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Made in America is directed by Richard Benjamin and collectively written by Marcia Brandwynne, Nadine Schiff and Holly Goldberg Sloan. It stars Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Danson, Nia Long, Will Smith and Jennifer Tilly.
When doing a biology project at school, Zora (Long) notices that her blood group is different from her mothers, Sarah (Goldberg). Having never known her father, Zora learns that she was the product of artificial insemination. Quickly setting off to find out who her father is, it comes as a big shock when it turns out he's tall white car salesman Hal Jackson (Danson), a surprise since Zora and Sarah are black!
Not the most powerful of set ups it has to be said, but in spite of the lowly rating afforded it by many critics and film lovers, it's a sweet and honest affair. Film pins its hopes on the central comedy premise of a white man somehow fathering a black daughter from a black mother. From there it follows a familiar course from the shock and horror born out by the reveal, to opposites at war and on to maybe opposites attracting? This of course only works if the viewer has a soft spot for Danson and Goldberg in the first place, but with them giving it complete gusto, and being a real off screen couple as well, their play off of each other is very easy to warm too. Sure it's contrived, and very treacle based once we land in the final quarter, but the mixing of races aspect has been well handled by the makers and there's some decent comedy moments. It may not be laugh out loud funny, unless you be the type of person who finds Danson astride a runaway elephant funny? But it has its moments and director Richard Benjamin is also enough of a pro to not let the pace sag. Good support comes from Long and Smith, while Tilly is wonderfully memorable as the fitness freak bimbo girlfriend of Danson.
Slight but never less than charming, it's safely recommended to fans of the two principal stars. 6/10
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