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Film / Something New

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Something New is a 2006 romantic drama film starring Simon Baker and Sanaa Lathan that examines the taboos surrounding interracial relationships in contemporary America.

High-flying African-American corporate executive Kenya McQueen (Lathan) is set up on a blind date with white landscape architect Brian Kelly (Baker), but she can't bring herself to stay for the date when she meets up for the first time and realizes he's white. She meets him again, and hires him to do some renovations for her backyard where their initial chemistry turns into romance. However the disapproval of her family and the lack of support from her friends drives them apart, and she meets more acceptable, fellow African-American tax attorney Mark Harper (Blair Underwood). But something seems missing from the relationship and Kenya is not completely happy...

This film provides examples of:

  • Betty and Veronica: Mark (Betty) and Brian (Veronica) for Kenya (Archie). Mark has no cultural or color divide to overcome and works a similar professional job and comes from an acceptable social status. Brian does not. He used to be in advertising, then chucked it for his true career in landscaping.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Kenya reveals that Brian is big when her girlfriends quiz her about his bedroom skills, to their approval.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: The film has this as a main plot point with the woman's family looking down on the relationship. It's also a case of class distinctions with (ironically enough) the wealthy black family looking down on the blue collar white man.
  • Daddy's Girl: Kenya, who gets along far better with her father than her mother.
  • Dances and Balls: Kenya is deeply unhappy at being at the cotillion alone. Bringing Brian there later in his less-than-formal suit shows that she is ready to accept him in all aspects of her life.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change/Letting Her Hair Down: At Brian's suggestion—and representing the fact that he's getting her to loosen up—Kenya takes off her weave and sports her natural hair. It's a very telling—and ironic—juxtaposition between Caucasian Brian (who wants Kenya to have her natural, kinky hair) and fellow African-American Mark (who wants her to keep it artificially straight).
  • Friends with Benefits: What Kenya's friends think her and Brian's relationship should be.
  • Hot Men at Work: Kenya finds herself getting hot and bothered by the sight of the muscled Brian working in her garden.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: The boyfriend of Kenya's friend warns Brian about this, telling him that Kenya is like a sister to him and that he hopes Brian is not using her as some sort of "experiment".
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Kenya and Brian have enough issues dating as a result of her being black while he's white, which leads to some flack from her loved ones, along with difficulties between them. The ending is them getting married, with her loved ones accepting him.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Its made pretty clear that Kenya's mother would disapprove of a relationship with Brian. Her father gives his support to her unconditionally, however, giving her the strength to pursue their relationship.
  • Race for Your Love: The funny thing is, she doesn't need to catch Brian before he goes anywhere, she just needs to tell him immediately that she loves him.
  • Shout-Out: Kenya dashing through the dance hall in her ball gown while a clock chimes is clearly this to Cinderella.
  • Uptown Girl: The high-flying corporate executive Kenya and earthy, working-class Brian. Nope, subverted. He used to be in advertising before deciding landscaping was his true love.
  • Wall Bang Her: How Kenya and Brian's first time starts out.