You People (2023)

“We really do live in two worlds. There’s no escaping it.”

You People should have worked. It has a solid pedigree, features actors with great comedic and dramatic chops, and is sparked by a setup that’s easy even though the entire point of the script is that things can and will be difficult. It’s an interracial relationship flip-flop by way of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and much of the spotlight is put on the Shakespearean feuding parents. Too much of You People is spent pointing out their obvious differences though, and the time would have felt more wisely invested digging for deeper similarities. Instead we get a film that’s too long, undercooked emotionally, and overwrought comedically. A handful of scenes save it from being a laughable mess, and not in a funny way either. It’s not worthy of a second date.

The film is at its best early on, when distractions are at a minimum and two starkly opposites clumsily meet, eventually even stoking vibes and catching feelings after an initially unpleasant first encounter. These two opposites attract. Ezra (Jonah Hill) is a broker by day and an aspiring podcaster by night with his best friend Mo (Sam Jay, who gets no depth at all here). Amira (Lauren London) is a hopeful fashion designer with lots of ideas and broad strokes, but no real intonations yet either. He mistakes her for an Uber driver, she’s offended yet flattered, and the long-term promise of their first date is all but sold during their awkward but relatable meet-cute. They chat and connect. If only the rest of this movie could have felt as fun and balanced.

I found this film to be like Meet the Parents with a less focused script and a central romance that never really feels believable; the foundation is shaky to say the least. So many scenes layered throughout You People made me laugh out loud sitting with the film, mostly from the derangement and the delight of the parental figures so longing to understand and adapt to what’s podcast worthy. And yet I’m not sure what ever happened between Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Eddie Murphy could ever be real; she’s interested in the outcome but his character is awkwardly absent in all things serious until the end. These parents dislike each other, turn a page, try to find a haven. It’s a complete cluster and the film falls because of it. The edges are jagged instead of rounded.

You People is a film that has its heart and its intentions in the right place but is so cold and hollow that it’s all sent to a PO Box where false sentiments accumulate and go to die. The lazy score can’t be taken seriously, the writing is shortsighted, and Eddie Murphy somehow overshadows the entire cast whilst doing nothing at all. I haven’t seen him try to be this serious since 2016’s disaster Mr. Church. Both performances by him are so perfunctory, and that also goes for You People as a whole as it tries to put a bow on a trainwreck of a picture. Some solid and sentimental laughs keep this one from being a complete calamity.

“I don’t think love is enough. There’s two many outside factors.”

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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