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In the Bay Area, widowed Sarah Mathews and her high school senior daughter Zora Mathews are intellectuals who embrace their African roots, Sarah who owns and operates a store all things African called African Queen. Despite often fighting, they truly do love each other. That love is why Sarah would rather Zora attend Berkeley for her freshman year than science prodigy Zora's first choice of M.I.T. on the other side of the country. Caught in a lie, Sarah is forced to admit to Zora that her husband Charlie, who died before Zora was born and who was the love of her life, is not Zora's biological father as Zora has always believed, but that she was conceived via artificial insemination using anonymous sperm from a sperm bank. Determined to have a man in her life she can truly call a "Dad" all her own, Zora, with the help of her longtime best friend Tea Cake Walton, is able to break into the sperm bank's computerized records to find the donor's information, including his name: Hal Jackson....Written by
As another example of an average premise and equal execution "Made In America" doesn't disappoint. Whoopie Goldberg and Ted Danson star as one-time customers of a sperm donor bank that has mistakenly given them a very curious daughter. Entering her mid-teens, their daughter Zora (played affably by Nia Long) discovers she is the product of their unintentional love. While Sarah (Goldberg) wanted a strong, tall black man, she would have settled at least for the last part. Instead, she is introduced to Danson by her intuitive daughter after she uses her friend (played by Will Smith) to steal sperm donor records.
The rest of the film is pretty much by-the-book. Father and Mother fight, get along, date, daughter gets weirded-out, parents save daughter from bad decision and hug....fade to credits and cliché song.
The movie IS worth watching. I give it crap because it's fairly by-the-book but it's not awful. When I first saw this film I was a fan of Danson from "Cheers" and Goldberg from her one-woman show and guest spots on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I remember being pleasantly surprised by both. Danson is an accomplished actor, best in "Pontiac Moon", and stretches his comedic skills here. Goldberg, on the other hand is best here in dramatic moments. She is warm and vibrant with splashes of real brilliance but it's not enough. It's not that she can't do the comedy at all, she is an incredible comedian, the script just doesn't give her enough to do besides be shrill and clumsy with a smattering of nice. Her few scenes with Danson are worth the time spent watching and make up for their tabloid headlines at the time. As for Smith's performance, this early role wasn't much different than most. Every minute on screen he is a joy, still in his "Fresh Prince" mode here he certainly doesn't disappoint. Nia Long is the real find here. If one person from this film should have been given a better shake than anyone it is her. She is vibrant, funny and worthy of the people she shares the screen with. That says a lot.
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