SOMETHING NEW is one of those films that many will pass by thinking it is just another Chick Flick with a twist. Well, this little movie may be a romantic comedy but it is well written (Kriss Turner), well directed (Sanaa Hamri), and very well acted and has some down to earth important observations about interpersonal relationships...and, oh yes, it deal with interracial issues, beautifully!
Kenya (Sanaa Lathan - Best Man, Blade, The Wood, etc) is a beautiful Type A personality, an overachiever who is up for Partner in her Accounting Firm: she has no time to search for IMB (Important Black Man) as her list of qualifications is far too extensive. Her fellow professional girlfriends (Wendy Raquel Robinson, Golden Brooks and Taraji P. Henson - all superb!) encourage her to date to 'go with the flow' and a fellow business associate sets her up with a blind date - the very handsome, hunky, landscape architect Brian Kelly (Simon Baker - superb actor from Tasmania, Australia has starred in LA Confidential, Book of Love, The Ring Two, The Affair of the Necklace etc) - and despite the fact that Kenya refuses to consider dating any man who is not black, she does accept Brian's card and in no time hires him to landscape her new home.
The usual dating events occur: Simon is an educated, laid-back, tender, thoughtful, adventuresome male who happens to fall in love with the closely guarded Kenya; when introduced at parties Simon falls victim to prejudice form black men AND form Kenya's parents; Kenya gradually succumbs to Brian's charms and despite all misgivings they begin an affair. But peer pressures, work demands, and Kenya's self doubt jumble matters and she decides she must search for a black man. One 'just happens' to appear as Mark (Blair Underwood) and for a moment Kenya believes she has found her ideal - until her heart speaks up and she for the first time is honest with her emotions and follows her true heart's desire.
The apparent disparity between Kenya and Brian is handled in a sensitive and realistic way and Lathan and Baker have a sizzling screen chemistry. The supporting roles are in excellent hands: in addition to those mentioned above there are fine roles by Alfre Woodward, Earl Billings, Donald Faison, Mike Epps etc. This is a fine little film that approaches the touchy subject of black professional women who are unmarried ('42.4 Percent' was the working title) and for once shows an interracial film that is more a sound love story than a sermon. It is light, airy, important, and thoroughly entertaining! (This coming from a viewer who doesn't particularly care for Chick Flicks....!). Grady Harp, May 06