Watch Who Made the Potatoe Salad?
- 1 hr 30 min
Who Made the Potatoe Salad? is a 2006 comedy film that brings a humorous take on the complex dynamics of family gatherings and the cultural clash that sometimes occurs when two very different families meet for the first time. Directed and written by Coke Daniels, this film weaves together themes of love, tradition, and the inevitable chaos that can ensue when trying to blend families through marriage.
The story revolves around the relationship of an African American couple - Michael (played by Jaleel White) and Ashley (portrayed by Jennia Fredrique Aponte), who are deeply in love and plan to get married. As a rite of passage, Michael decides to propose to Ashley and, in doing so, he must make the traditional trip to meet her family and ask her hand in marriage. The setting moves to Ashley's family home, where the bulk of the hilarity unfolds.
Ashley’s family is unique and full of strong personalities, with each member having their quirks and eccentricities. Michael, a San Diego cop, finds himself navigating a minefield of comic situations as he attempts to make a good impression on Ashley's parents, portrayed by Daphne Bloomer and Michael Colyar, who bring their comedic talents to their roles as the protective parents. The father is suspicious of Michael’s intentions and wants to ensure that his daughter is marrying a man who can take care of her, applying an overprotective and scrutinizing eye to every move Michael makes.
The title of the movie, Who Made the Potatoe Salad?, is a nod to the centerpiece of the film’s narrative - a Thanksgiving family gathering that serves as the setting for Michael's introduction to Ashley's relatives. This event is where the hilarity reaches its peak, as it is not just any dinner, but a full-blown feast marked by the eponymous potato salad - a dish that, in many African American families, has cultural significance and traditionally one that only trusted family members are permitted to prepare.
As Michael meets the extended family, he encounters a colorful array of characters: from the loud and confrontational cousin to the sassy grandparent who doesn't hold back her opinions. Each character adds to the rich tapestry of the film’s comedy, providing laughs and showcasing their individual comedic timings and styles.
The journey Michael goes through is a common trope in romantic comedies - the outsider trying to fit in. However, Who Made the Potatoe Salad? flips this narrative and gives it a cultural twist. Throughout the movie, Michael's attempts to navigate the cultural norms and traditions that are new to him are a source of both empathy and embarrassment. The comic relief comes in the form of misunderstandings, cultural faux pas, and slapstick mishaps that showcase the difficulties of not only impressing your prospective in-laws but also crossing cultural boundaries.
The movie also delves into the intricacies of pre-marital jitters and the anxiety of wanting to create the perfect impression. The authenticity of the nervousness and apprehension that comes with marrying into a new family is captured with a blend of heart and humor. These emotions are contrasted with the laid-back Southern California vibe that Michael brings to the table, and his cool demeanor is put to the test by the boisterous, straightforward, and unpredictable behavior of Ashley's family.
What makes this movie particularly endearing is its ability to humorously depict the importance of family, acceptance, and the bond created when two families become one. The warmth and love that Ashley's family has for her and the protective nature they exhibit towards Michael - despite their initial reservations and shenanigans - underscore the universal theme of familial love and acceptance.
Who Made the Potatoe Salad? is a lighthearted romp that uses the context of a family gathering, along with the cultural implications of a meal shared together, to explore the trials and tribulations of a man trying to win over his would-be in-laws. It's a movie that couples slapstick comedy with heartfelt moments, allowing for a broad appeal to those who appreciate both the ridiculous and the touching elements of family life.
Notably, the detours the film takes into the different encounters Michael has with each family member serve to convey valuable lessons about respect, perseverance, and the sometimes-uncomfortable process of opening up to new cultures and experiences. The comedic approach to the profound theme of blending lives and traditions serves as the film’s backbone and offers audiences a blend of laughter and sentimentality.
Who Made the Potatoe Salad? is a 2006 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.7.