You People (2023) Review!!

Synopsis – Follows a new couple and their families, who find themselves examining modern love and family dynamics amidst clashing cultures, societal expectations and generational differences.

My Take – As history suggests, watching people of two different cultures clash can be both hilarious and eye opening. Hence, at first glance, this Netflix released culture-clash rom com showed immense promise, after all it marked the feature directorial debut of Kenya Barris, the creator of the sitcom Black-ish and its spin-offs, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish, who co-wrote the film with his star and co-producer Jonah Hill, and featured an impressive cast with the likes of Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Nia Long, and Deavid Duchovny among several others.

And while the film seemed to be inspired by framework established by the classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), but something that also wades into the difficulties and awkwardness of interracial romance with its potentially rich premise of a Jewish family and Black Muslim family creating friction with one another over an incoming wedding.

But, unfortunately despite a provocative setup, the resulting film feels more like a tired rehash of the Meet the Fockers (2004) and a mediocre remake of Guess Who (2005).

With little more brought to the table than an R-rating. Yes, the film has its moments, and might be worth watching for Murphy’s performance alone. But the film not only fails to live up to expectations but also falls short in its execution. Mainly because it is trying too hard to be a good film, to be funny and to call attention to race relations. Yet, it never comes together as either a consistent laugh generator or potent slice of cultural commentary.

Making matters worse are the cringe-worthy moments sprinkled all over the already shallow script that makes the whole experience quite uncomfortable. The film obviously wants to say a lot about racism, but everything feels assembled on the fly, an endless stream of vignettes with no real point to make but 118 minutes of time to fill, ideally with cringe comedy, not a compelling story or engaging characters. It sure was a major disappointment to see such a talent cast being wasted in such a poorly made film.

The story follows Ezra (Jonah Hill), a Jewish stockbroker, who also runs a podcast with his best friend, Mo (Sam Jay), where the two discuss various facets of black culture. Turning 35, Ezra is also under pressure from his Jewish family, particularly his mother Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), to find a woman but he continues to have a streak of bad luck with his family’s setups.

Meanwhile, Amira (Lauren London), an up and coming costume designer, is also dealing with pressure from her opinionated father Akbar (Eddie Murphy) a devout Black Muslim.

But when Ezra and Amira have a chance encounter, romance blossoms and the two eventually start a relationship. However, trouble for the couple begins when Ezra proposes to Amira, and the two’s families prove to be a massive obstacle, particularly Akbar who is openly hostile to Ezra.

As one would expect, the story is pretty straightforward, however, while the film does start strong, it quickly falls apart. Mainly due to its indecisive approach to whether be a serious film or a zany comedy. By aiming for both, it failed at both, making it a disorienting experience.

Scenes don’t feel written or directed, merely suggested, like an improv set gone immediately off the rails. Every transition introduces another scenario where two characters have a forced misunderstanding that leads to awkward riffing until the scene abruptly ends.

A large chunk of the film is an endless parade of scenes where either Ezra or his parents make fools of themselves giving rambling unsolicited commentary on race relations. But there are only so many insensitive comments Shelley can make, and only so many opaquely constructed schemes Akbar can spring on Ezra, before the film loses steam.

It just name checks points of conflict like white women glorifying Black women’s hair, antisemitism in the Black community, the legacies of slavery and the Holocaust, and then skims past them way too quickly to say anything of substance. And while Amira talks about the expectations put upon Black women to always be voices of reason and carry the burden of other people’s problems, she isn’t shown to be doing any of those things.

The length problem stretches to the whole picture, actually: at almost two hours, it’s difficult not to lose patience with the jokes about trendy smoothie cafes and comparing Ezra to different eras of Drake, which really don’t do much to drive the plot forward. Even the brief break-up and reconciliation seems rushed and under-written.

Performance wise, both Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy bring enough stingy chemistry in their Stiller-De Niro inspired equation. Hill is too talented not to produce a few genuinely funny moments, but Murphy is saddled with a role that doesn’t play to his strengths as Akbar is a very serious and stoic man who isn’t funny or interesting because he’s been force to subdue his charisma and he really only comes to life in the role in the last 10 minutes. Lauren London is absolutely charming as the level-headed Amira.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is winsome every time she appears as the Jewish mother trying way too hard to appropriate her daughter-in-law. Sadly, Nia Long, less scope in comparison as Amira’s mother and David Duchovny is stuck with a terrible running gag about him going on about Xzibit and Elliott Gould.

In smaller roles, Elliott Gould, Rhea Perlman, Mike Epps, Deon Cole, Alani La La Anthony, Andrea Savage, Bryan Greenberg, Emily Arlook, Molly Gordon, Sam Jay, and Travis Bennett are wasted. On the whole, ‘You People’ is an infuriating cringe filled culture-clash comedy that wastes the talents of Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill.

Directed –

Starring – Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Rated – R

Run Time – 117 minutes

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