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Many careers were crippled here...
moonspinner5515 January 2008
Richard Benjamin was such an interesting actor in the 1970s (indifferent, unafraid to appear dishonest, sharp-tongued) that his transformation into a film director of complete and utter piffle is both surprising and disheartening. Here, he helms a crass comedy laced with old-fashioned trimmings. Whoopi Goldberg plays the mother of a teenage girl, the product of mom's one-time visit to a sperm bank. After the secret comes out, the young woman then discovers her biological father is Ted Danson, an obnoxious, white car-salesman! Shrill, misguided piece flails about trying to be funny and does not succeed. Goldberg can't rise above the cheap, smarmy writing, nor can she do much under Benjamin's even smarmier handling. Good supporting cast including Will Smith and Jennifer Tilly is wasted. * from ****
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Ted Danson
bevo-136782 April 2020
Great cowboy movie with a star studded cast. Plenty of great fight scenes
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Safe family fare boosted by on screen chemistry.
hitchcockthelegend28 May 2011
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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Not Very Well Made
Theo Robertson15 July 2003
This starts with a premise involving Will Smith going along to a sperm bank so I was expecting to see a bad taste comedy similar to THERE`S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY , but then the whole feel of the movie changes and we see a rampaging elephant running around which led me to think we`d be seeing an animal driven slapstick comedy like ED , but then the film turns into a slightly rom com type movie , and just right at the end it almost turns serious and we have an obligitary uplifting ending . As you can guess MADE IN AMERICA seems to be very confused as what it`s trying to do which is usually the sign of a bad film and if it`s a comedy with no laughs involved then it IS a bad film
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Some Good Moments, But Only Average at Best
tfrizzell12 October 2001
Ted Danson's run on "Cheers" was about over and it looked like he might go exclusively to the big-screen, but "Made in America" ended those hopes pretty quick. African-American high school senior Nia Long learns that she was conceived through artificial means and tries to find out who her real father is. Of course it turns out to be obnoxious car salesman Danson and this is when the comedy starts. Long's mother (Whoopi Goldberg) is really upset with the data, but actually begins to fall for Danson to Long's dismay as she wants Danson to be the father she has never had. The movie goes for comedy for the most part, but then turns dramatically in the final act and this makes the film uneven in many important respects. Everyone is adequate, but the screenplay struggles to succeed and never does really accomplish its goal. Will Smith is particularly good as Long's best friend. 2.5 out of 5 stars.
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Awful Racist Movie
slightlymad2227 November 2017
Made In America (1993)

Plot In A Paragraph: A young black woman (Nia Long) discovers that her father was a sperm donor, and if that weren't bad enough, he's also white.

I was was quite looking forward to this movie back in 1993, Whoopi Goldberg was one of my favourites at the time!! From popular movies like Jumping Jack Flash, Ghost and Sister Act to under rated little movies like Clara's Heart and Homer and Eddie. She was always a joy. Her teaming up Ted Danson gave me hope for some laughs, as I loved him in Cheers, and still watch re runs of it today. As for Will Smith, although I knew his TV show The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, I did not watch it!! For his second movie, he again took a supporting role, and truthfully he is the best thing in it.

I hated this movie in 1993, didn't even watch it all when I rented it, and I would have turned it off after forty mins today, if I didn't have a hunch about the ending, which I told my girlfriend, and I simply wanted to see if I was right. I was.

I didn't like it, as I don't find any form of racial prejudice funny, and that is not just the big joke here. It's the whole concept of the movie.

America obviously got the joke (that I clearly don't) as the movie was a sizeable hit, grossing $44 million (on a budget of $22 million) at the domestic box office to end the year the 31st highest grossing movie of the year.
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another good idea squandered by a weak script
Special-K883 June 2003
An intelligent, black teenage girl is shocked to discover from her strong, independent mother that she was the product of artificial insemination. Determined to track her biological father down, she looks up the records to find that not only is he a white man, but he's also an obnoxious and pompous car salesman. Naturally, complications ensue when her mother makes it clear that she requested a black donor. Cast is talented and enthusiastic, setup is very clever and has the makings of a really enjoyable comedy, but unfortunately they're wasted on a sorry script that repeatedly resorts to dumb, sitcom-style humor. A real shame. **
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Happy ending to fun film
gcd7023 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Made in America" is an enjoyable, light hearted tale about the ethical problems of artificial insemination and the dilemmas it can cause.

Zora (Nia Long) decides to try and find her biological dad after discovering her mom (Whoopi Goldberg) went to a sperm bank to get pregnant. The cast deliver the laughs very well from a script which makes the most of the very funny situation. There is a more serious side to this story, but director Richard Benjamin wisely keeps it low key whilst the comedy holds the floor.

Most fans shouldn't mind the gooey happy ending, after a very satisfactory, and humorous film.

Sunday, July 11, 1993 - Village Centre Melbourne
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How the mighty have fallen!
wisewebwoman30 October 2008
Richard Benjamin directed this. Ted Danson plays a lead as Hal the auto salesman. Whoopi Goldberg plays a lead as Sarah. Will Smith plays a lead as occasional boyfriend. Jennifer Tilley, oh dear.

What a mess of a movie and completely uneven, wavering all over the place from outrageous slapstick (a racing elephant!!!) to frequent attempts at poignancy. Too huge and sudden swerves in characterization by the leads matching the swerves of their vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles.

What ever happened to the wit of Richard Benjamin? How did he sink to trite and formulaic? This coulda been a really interesting movie as the premise is intriguing - an adult seeking her sperm donor father.

BUT: instead we have this simplistic plot with very few laughs.

Only good point is a white-black romance without any eyebrow raising or racism (made in 1993) and we still (2008) haven't had many of those in theatres). Whoopi chews the scenery all through it. But the (lack of decent)script is 100% responsible. Avoid. 4 out of 10.
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One of the worst movies ever made!
baumer15 November 1999
When the executives watched the dailies of this film, did they really sit there and think it was good? Could they actually watch this muddled mess and think that the public would take to this crap? It is films like this that remind me how foolish Hollywood really thinks the audience is. They seem to think that as long as you have a couple of recognizable faces in the film, it means that it is going to be box office gold. But we are not that stupid. As a film goer I need a good story, good direction, and some good a acting. This film contains none of this. There is one funny part in this film and that is when Will Smith tells Whoopi there is a white man at the door. But we already saw that in the commercials, so there is nothing really to look forward to. This is really inexcusable garbage. I don't even know what 3/4 of this film is about. This is a film about a sperm bank mix up. In it you have a stereotypical dumb blond, an elephant chasing a bike, a bear, a monkey, a monstrous sounding nurse and too many more ridiculous situations that don't add anything to the film. Whoopi Goldberg started off doing silly but funny comedies, now she either does bad films or films that are too self important. She is still one hell of a funny lady but what she saw in this film besides a paycheck is an enigma wrapped inside of a riddle embedded in a mystery. The only good thing to come out of this is Nia Long got introduced to Will Smith and she later appeared on his television show. She is a great young actress and I am glad that she has broken into Hollywood. But the rest of the film is just plain terrible.
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Funny, feel-good, predictable entertainment
mattymatt4ever16 September 2001
"Made in America" is a formulaic romantic comedy with a pretty noble premise. That premise is obviously a setup for racial (not racist) gags, but it never becomes a one-joke comedy. Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg are great leads. They light up the screen with their (sometimes sexual) tension. Goldberg is one of my favorite actresses, and she's wonderful in this role. It's hilarious to watch her spontaneous outbursts. Nobody does 'em like Whoopi.

There are no real surprises in the plot. Danson is a conceited, self-indulgent used car salesman. He's married to a floozy wife (Jennifer Tilly). Whoopi is a single parent who owns an African-American antique shop. Her daughter finds out that her real father (whose sperm was artificially inseminated) turns out to be Danson, that white used car salesman who does those crazy ads on TV. It's pretty obvious what the punchlines will be and it's pretty obvious how this sometimes schmaltzy story will end up.

However, it's lightweight entertainment that isn't meant to be thoroughly analyzed. Just enjoy it for its many laughs and endearing performances. It's an innocuous, feel-good comedy. Even when it takes a dramatic turn at the third act, I didn't feel the mood was ruined. I guess it's because I felt a respect for all these likeable characters and was somewhat manipulated. Just how I felt the humor in the first and second acts, I felt the sadness in the third.

My score: 7 (out of 10)
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Not good at all
Phil_Chester24 July 2019
Really very weak indeed. Not in the slightest bit funny, despite being billed as a comedy. In a bizarre kind of way, this is actually a model for the later 'The Kids Are All Right', which was a beautiful and effective film. By contrast, this film screws up the writing, casting, direction and music and is a general disaster from start to finish. Avoid.
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But WHY was it made??
culwin12 August 1999
I gave this movie a perfect 5, because I really couldn't say it was good or bad. This movie is so pointless - what audience were they targetting??? I saw this movie only because I had already seen everything else at the theater - maybe this was their target group. I have to tell you that watching a blank screen would have been as interesting. The only mentionable part of this movie is Will Smith, who actually does a pretty good job. Now how sad is that????
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Made In A Hurry
David, Film Freak17 February 2001
I'd just finished reading the User Comments, before writing my own, and I can't understand why everyone panned it!! Okay, so it's not exactly Oscar-worthy, but it's good for a few laughs.

I'm a huge Whoopi fan from way back, and while this will never match Jumpin' Jack Flash or Sister Act, it's still a pretty decent film. I think Goldberg's role was pretty funny, and my favorite scene is where she get's drunk and says: 'I know this is his office, I know that, I mean look at it! Cheesy wood, bowling trophies, Western motîf makes me ill... ooooh, it's the Titty Sisters - this is absolutely his office!'

Ted Danson's performance falls short compared to his other work (ie. Cheers). Will Smith's character is pretty funny, and Nia Long does a great job in the film. Newcomer Paul Rodriguez is okay, and Jennifer Tilly is cast again as the annoying little tart (it's what she does best). Step By Step's Peggy Rea is also good in her role as Alberta - the long-suffering receptionist at Hal's car place.

Okay, so it's not the greatest, but it's fine for a rainy day. On a scale of 1 to 10, it'd earn about 5.5.
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They don't make films like Whoopi's anymore.
trvwatson14 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
My word, what a funny movie, i was a bit suspect by the cover though, they really didn't seem to click for me, but when you got into the movie, the whole thing just worked (BIG SPOILER) But when you finally realize that Danson was not really her father, it ruined the whole logic of the movie, the audience, well me anyway had gotton used to the idea of them as a family, but then oh no he's not, then when he turned up at the end credits he just looked lost, and that perfect family idea was crushed.

Will Smith was brilliant in his campest role ever, and believe me i have my doubts there anyway, but the credits go firmly to Whoopi, who again shone like the true star she is, is there anything this woman can't play.

Where is she these days, not still making £100000000 for cartoon voice overs.
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"And don't forget...Hal's your pal!"
seeingbystarlight30 July 2018
This is the signature line of used car salesman Hal Jackson (Ted Danson) who's known for his banal T.V. ads, and whose placid, carefree life is about to be shattered by a nice girl named Zora Matthews (Nia Long), who's strong, independent mother Sara (Whoopi Goldberg) conceived her through artificial insemination after the death of her husband.

The movie opens with Zora storming out of the class room, after a blood test confirms that the man Sara was married to couldn't possibly be her father.

And after a sobbing accusation in Sara's shop ("Mom, before dad died, you had an affair!" To which Sara's employee replies: "Thank goodness this happened on one of MY work days!"), the truth is revealed to the agitated Zora.

Though Sara wants the matter of Zora's father closed, her daughter's curiosity is awakened.

And in the company of her friend Tea Cake Walters (Will Smith), she begins a relentless pursuit to discover the identity of her mother's donor.

When she finds Hal Jackson's name in the sperm banks computer, she is overjoyed, but there's one little problem... Hal is white.

Moreover, he has absolutely no interest in having a relationship with Zora.

But he soon finds himself having no choice, as a furious Sara (who's devastated about her child's father being white), storms in to the used car lot to yell at him, and an unlikely attraction sparks between them.

Whoopi Goldberg, and Ted Danson are terrific. I have rarely seen better chemistry between two people.

Nia Long is perfect, and Will Smith is -as always- great, as is a surprising Jennifer Tilly, who does an outstanding job as Hal's girlfriend Stacy.

This is a movie which restores one's faith in the inherent goodness of people. And in humanity as a whole.

It's a real rarity. One I hope will be appreciated as time goes on.

Originally, Review #144

Posted On: November 26, 2011
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Worst movie ever
itsabacus200925 February 2021
This had to be the most flat out EXTREMELY RACIST movie that I have EVER had the DISPLEASURE in seeing! Why does it matter if the father is white?! Why is that such a bad thing?! And on top of that, they had to make him STEREOTYPICAL and a total WHACK JOB! It was nothing but just a huge F-U to white people, and quite frankly should NEVER been made in the first place!
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Trash made in America
star-3024 January 1999
Richard Benjamin's 'Made in America' keeps harping on a theme in vogue.

According to the script Nia Long realizes that her father was a sperm from a sperm-bank. Whoopie Goldberg - her mother - denies everything. Even that she was born at all. And then comes a white man called Ted Danson and upsets their whole world.

So that's the story. Goldberg extravagant performance is annoying. However she and Danson falls in love with each other on the shooting.

Will Smith has eyeglass, the script has no gags, and we have to see something else.

4 of the 10.
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only one funny scene!
juliarobertsla2-227 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
*Watch out my review contains a spoiler, if you have not seen this movie yet, you may not want me to ruin it for you... if you want to find out what the ONLY funny scene in the movie is, read ahead*. My favorite scene in the movie is when Whoopie Goldberg and the guy from "Three Men and a Little Lady" go to a Japanese restaurant and Whoopie Goldberg takes a whole gulp of Wasabie, that's the only funny scene in the whole movie, trust me. Other then that, the movie is pretty lame. I was actually surprised that Whoopie Goldberg was even in this movie, anyways if you want to watch a really bad movie definitely rent this one.
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Hey, this is funny!
dwasserm10 February 2003
I don't see why so many people are trashing this one. I admit that there's plenty about it that doesn't make any sense, but there's plenty of good humor in it. The best part is the filming of the commercials. Who would have thought that a shoot that goes horribly wrong would produce footage much better than what was intended? Also, Nia Long is BEAUTIFUL. Out of all the films I've seen, I think this one is a hair above average.
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A perfect Sunday afternoon movie
peter-85616 September 2004
I really like this film. It's been on British T.V. almost as many times as Mary Poppins and I'm always glad to see it. There is a chaotic comic chemistry between Goldberg and Danson, but they don't egotistically dominate the film, allowing the charming and funny performances by Nora Long, Jennifer Tilly, Will Smith, Peggy Rea and others to shine. I particularly like Tilly's character, a new age airhead, and her new boyfriend, played by Fred Mancuso, who between them, make stupidity lovable. Everyone gets a fair chance, and they all make the best of it.

Formulaic as it is, Made in America is about racial identity, which is a difficult subject to address in such a frivolous form as romantic comedy, but it manages to more or less avoid cringes and concentrates on the laughs, only giving as much time to story as is necessary to keep everything moving on. Against the odds and thanks to the superb cast this is a good natured film. It harks back to the optimism of the early nineties, and seems strangely innocent, eleven years on.
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Made In America ain't no trash!!!
katekingswood8 July 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Despite mixed reviews and obnoxious comments about this film from several aquaintences this movie proved to be funny,heartwarming and entertaining.

Whoopi Goldberg plays Sarah Matthews,the mother of a seventeen year old - Zora (Nia Long). Their seemingly perfect life is changed dramatically when Zora finds that her father was not Mr Matthews - her apparently deceased father.

Zora finds that she is in fact the product of an artificial insemination and that her father is unknown by her mother.

Upset and curious about the whereabouts of her real father, Zora searches through the computer files for her Mother and finds that her father is in fact Hal Jackson (Ted Danson), a dumb used car dealer who is famous for his crass and stupid commercial on the local TV station.

The traumas and dramas of the whole situation begin to simmer down and so do the hard feelings between Hal and Sarah. They fall in love and as you've probably already guessed, there is a very happy ending!! Awwwwww.
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Watchable and sometimes charming comedy
mark150416 July 2003
The movie seems to work better than the premise might suggest. The three leads - Goldberg, Danson and Nia Long, have a nice chemistry between them. Nia Long being particularly lovable as 'their' daughter. There are some good gags in it, although the movie is not overstuffed with them. The decent, heartwarming plot (just the right amount of twists) handles the race aspects with an exemplary ease.

Jennifer Tilly's bit-part was funnier and more successful than Will Smith's.

Made in America is hardly a classic but is worth watching if you like a little maturity in your comedy.
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A must see
twigfire30 December 2004
This was so funny. It was fabulous. You laugh straight through, except for the part in every movie when the going gets tough. Really, Whoopi is a crazy-in-traffic mother with an attitude. After her husbands death she went to a sperm bank. But oh, how could this happen, they mix it up. She asked for a tall, intelligent black man. Now she's clashed together with "Hal" ('s your pal), the actual sperm donor. But he's not black and he's a car salesman. He is tall, and we withhold judgment on the intelligence scale. The only match is their traffic skills (or lack thereof, depending on how you look at it) and their sensible daughter. Her pal, T-cake (Will Smith), is a gem. You should watch the movie just to see him swing his butt pretending to be an angry girl.
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OK Fluff
Hammer131030 July 2005
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.

In between:

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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