What is Witty Watching?

You People – Movie Review
January 29, 2023

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.
Director: Kenya Barris
Stars: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus

One of the best moves Netflix has made is teaming up with Eddie Murphy. 2019 saw the Cecil B. DeMille Award winner return to the screen with a fantastic performance in Dolemite is My Name, next was the sequel to Coming to America, and now we are getting the film, You People.

The trailer for this film leaves you anticipating some Eddie Murphy magic, but that is only part of the story. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

You People is directed by Kenya Barris (Black-ish). In the film, we meet Ezra (Jonah Hill), a white Jewish guy with a podcast where he and his friend discuss Black culture. His parents, Shelley and Arnold (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny), just want him to meet a nice girl and settle down.

One day, Ezra meets Amira (Lauren London), a Black costume designer, in an interesting, cute encounter, well, once you get past the awkwardness of how they meet. The couple has a lot in common and begins to spend a lot of time together. While other people may have an issue with this blossoming interracial relationship, they don’t.

When it comes time to meet the parents, it’s truly unclear which meeting is more awkward — Amira meeting Shelley and Arnold, who just want to show how ‘woke’ they are, or Ezra meeting Amira’s parents, Akbar and Fatima (Eddie Murphy and Nia Long).

Akbar is not happy with his daughter’s dating decision and instantly dislikes Ezra, while Shelley treats Amira more like an object than a person; she overanalyzes every aspect of her.

Back to the trailer, looking at the promotional video, it’s easy to get excited and think, ‘Yes, Eddie Murphy!’ but this film is so much more.

In his feature film directorial debut, Barris has delivered a very strong film. He is no stranger to tackling racial issues; this film does an excellent job of providing a realistic exploration of not only interracial relationships but also racial issues as a whole in the United States.

While Louis-Dreyfus and Murphy play characters that may seem over the top at times, they are realistic. Barris and Jonah Hill (who co-wrote the screenplay) have done a solid job of blending the serious and the funny.

The film is somewhat of a mix between Meet the Parents and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but while those films may be influences, this movie has its own uniqueness.

The all-star cast isn’t wasted in this film. Deon Cole, Andrea Savage, Mike Epps, La La Anthony, Elliott Gould, and Rhea Perlman are just some of the people who grace the screen.

Some aspects of the film are predictable, but most romantic comedies are. Barris has directed a movie that will entertain and generate conversation.

I thought we were getting an Eddie Murphy movie, and we got so much more.

Grade: B

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