You know how you randomly see a scene from a movie and vaguely remember seeing it? Yeah, this is that movie for me. I’m 85% sure I’ve seen this movie a max of three times, but when you mention it, I can tell you who’s in it and loosely what happens.
Made in America is the story of mother-daughter duo Sarah (Whoopi Goldberg) and Zora (Nia Long) discovering the missing piece of their family. You see, Zora finds out that who she thought was her father is not her father in science class (that part I forgot) so she goes through some illegal maneuvers to find out exactly who he is. Now imagine, as a Black teenage girl, discovering that not only is your father not your father, but she’s also a white car salesman. Apparently, you can make requests at the sperm bank and Sarah’s request was not met. Imagine what could go wrong.
Of course, there is apprehension, shock, an attempt at the parents dating, a loud, obnoxious best friend and reflection. It’s one of those movies that’s a bit of a culture classic. Roger Ebert once said, “This isn’t a great movie, but it sure is a nice one,” and he is right.
For reference, because I know someone wants to know, Nia Long had just finished Boyz n the Hood as Brandi in 1991. After Made in America, she played Debbie in Friday. This was the same year that Six Degrees of Seperation was released staring Will Smith as Paul. And if you watch The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, you should know that Smith and Long played boyfriend and girlfriend on the show. Not quite what happens here although Tea Cake would like it to be reality. Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit was also released this year. Three years before, Ted Danson played Jack Holden in Three Men and a Little Lady.
You know what cracks me up? Whoopi on a bike this entire movie. It is hilarious to see an angry Whoopi, as Sarah, pedaling down the streets of what looks like San Francisco. It’s funny but not funny that she ends up in the hospital towards the end of the movie because she was angrily riding her bike home.
Then, here’s the kicker, we go through all this madness, breaking into the bank, meeting the man, Sarah almost dating the man, only for the man to not be her father. *cue mom running to the back of the set on Maury* But you know it has to end on a good note. I believe the message is that a family isn’t who you’re born to but who you decide to invite into your life.
You know who was the funniest part of this movie? Will Smith’s character Tea Cake, not to be confused with the Tea Cake from Their Eyes Were Watching God. Was he annoying at times? Yes, but not as annoying as Zora. 90’s films always had that one annoying girl who whined all the time about nothing. She boo-hoo’ed about finding the man, then about him being an asshole, then about her mom wanting to date him and so on and so forth. Give it a rest girl! Now of course, she was happy at the end of the movie, because the movie has to have a happy ending, but she annoyed me in the movie more than she did in Love Jones (I will explain later).
Made in America can be streamed on Starz and Hulu! I just watched it the other day on the Starz app. Check it out and let me know if you found Zora was as annoying as I did.