YOU PEOPLE (NETFLIX) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: Families and cultures clash when two LA millennials from different backgrounds fall in love and face the ultimate relationship test: meeting the parents.
You People is something liked Meet the Parents, that more than two decades old comedy starring Robert De Niro as an overbearing father and Ben Stiller as his hapless future son-in-law. Only this time, Eddie Murphy is the overbearing, overprotective father and Jonah Hill is the poor son-in-law.
Kenya Barris (writer of Coming 2 America and Girls Trip) making his directorial debut here co-wrote this with Hill and it follows the relationship between white man Ezra (Hill) and his African-American Muslim girlfriend, Amira (Lauren London) and their respective families led by Amira’s dad, Akbar (Murphy) and Ezra’s mother, Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
You People in short is an awkward comedy about meeting your potential in-laws and tension about racial relations. Predictably, the father-in-law is feeling insecure about having a white, Jewish son-in-law and goes about destroying it while on the other hand, Ezra’s mother is an expert in creating cringe-inducing moments especially in front of her future daughter-in-law.
This M18 comedy is chock full of explicit dialogue rather than raunchy gags which surprisingly there isn’t. Most of the time, it’s just verbal humour whether you get it or not. There are plenty of sweeping, stereotypical statements about racism and disparity. Maybe perhaps it’s hard for this side of the Earth to understand about the sufferings of Jews or Blacks in the past. That’s why we don’t get the memo to laugh at what the characters are repeatedly rambling.
Honestly, there’s only so much jokes you can wring out of a single topic. Akbar bringing Ezra to an all-blacks barbershop, forcing him to play basketballs with other Blacks and insisting on joining him in his bachelor party, none of these gags actually work in the end. All you feel is the filmmakers are trying their best to stall time until the predictable finale.
Most disappointing is Murphy who seems so uninterested all the time that he didn’t bother resuscitating the lifeless script with his usual standup comedic energy. Indeed, there are a few moments with Hill’s character that truly showcases some potential gold comedy but unfortunately every scene soon runs out of steam with nothing slapstick coming out it.
The pairing of Hill and Murphy is much look forward to on paper of course. Yet You People plays like a sitcom pilot that very much overstay its welcome. There are probably other comedies that involved an interracial couple, clashing in-laws and wedding gone wrong. This flick has everything stated except the laughs and likeability.
Review by Linus Tee