a comedy against prejudice that made pschitt
Its subject matter – the post-community American dream that collided with the principles of reality – causes little scratch. The presence of Eddie Murphy, who is now rarely seen in theaters, is sure to please us. Ouch… Between vulgar and flat, You people, available from January 27, 2023 on Netflix, was a disappointment. Its director, Kenya Barris, creator of the hit series Black-ish (from 2014 to 2022, on ABC), remains renowned for the way she brilliantly blends themes of identity, race, and family. But we have to believe that the subject of culture clash was, this time, too incendiary to inspire him with anything other than the clean, regressive treatment via his first feature film.
under the belt
Thirties financial executive, white and Jewish, from a bourgeois and progressive family in Los Angeles, Ezra Cohen (Jonah Hill, a regular in Judd Apatow productions), sublimates his sexual frustrations by sharing them in a cash trust with his podcast partner Mo (Sam Jay, perfect) and collects sneakers. His relatives, first and foremost his queer parents (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the liberated David Duchovny), regret his prolonged celibacy… until the day Ezra meets Amira Mohammed (Lauren London, sympathetic), who fractures. The young woman, mixed race and Muslim, has finally succumbed to Ezra’s bumbling charms. To the extent that it is considered a labor union. Problem: Amira’s father, Akbar (Eddie Murphy, straight out of the Grévin museum or Madame Tussauds) isn’t actually in favor of mixed marriages and has Louis Farrakhan, an anti-Semitic black supremacist, as his mentor. Will the announced antagonism melt like snow in the sun before the passion of lovebirds? Basically, the answer doesn’t really matter as long as we guess first. It is the care provided for him that interests us. And that’s sad. Potacherie can have appeal, when carried through a scenario that galvanizes and is held by its writing as well as by endearing characters. Nothing of the kind You people which announces color by focusing for the first quarter of an hour on the sexual attributes of the hero, is constantly brought back to his dick in some scenes that are more raunchy than funny. The meeting between Ezra and Amira is on the same level, which will take place – with an identical theme – my stepfather and me for Lubitsch and What have we done to God? for du Guitry.
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Everyone is handsome, everyone is nice
One could imagine catching up during the two families’ confrontation. But with characters reduced to clichés and unrealistic situations, hope quickly evaporates. Adorned with a potiche wife (played by Nia Long) whose transparency becomes scandalous, Akbar-Eddie Murphy shows hostility, without the rudeness, which gets in the way of empathy. Against him, the Jewish family loses its credibility due to its extraordinary indulgence sprinkled with paternalism. From then on, the allusion to the Shoah or slavery over dinner should have been the climax of the film. And nothing can lighten the effort to resolve with humor and common sense the community clashes in which the protagonists are involved. Worst: second half You people offers an even more unbelievable resolution by magically changing the character of Eddie Murphy and the antagonist family apologizing to one another. They ignore other people’s culture and suffering? Forget it ! They will catch up in the future; struck by grace, aided by their offspring. Don’t throw away anymore: You people, which starts with a raunch and ends with a marshmallow, at best, only because of its fun and diverse cast. Too bad this one got confused. Watch the flicker from life to fiction: Lauren London, who embodies Amira, is an incredibly diverse race. But if the mother is African American, the father… is Jewish! Kenya Barris might have benefited from integrating these biographical elements into the screenplay to add a bit of complexity and finesse to the film, which it sorely lacks.
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