You People review: Disappointing and unfunny comedy
Movies are interesting. Sometimes it’s a new premise. Other times, it’s a respectable director behind the wheel. However, nothing is more appealing than the promise of a good cast. While we may experience disappointments like Amsterdam, the faces you’ll see on the screen are always a selling point when deciding what to watch in your Netflix queue. This comedy starring Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is packed with potential and is sure to blow your mind. However, You People squanders that potential, delivering an unsavory, unfunny comedy with storylines that never get you anywhere from the fun.
Remember that hilarious sequence in 22 Jump Street when Jonah Hill’s character dates a black girl and ends up at an awkward dinner party with his annoyed father? This is a feature film adaptation of that fun idea, with Hill co-writing the screenplay with writer/director Kenya Barris, best known for creating Black and American Next Top Model. Despite her television success, she continued a string of film failures, failing to reach the heights she had reached in Girls Trip. It’s a comedy where the characters ramble on for a long time, hoping if they talk long enough they’ll say something funny, but they never do.
We’ve seen how funny Hill can be in his successful comedy career, where he plays lovable characters who are placed in difficult situations that he must escape. The film Jump Street is a hilarious example of its time, and despite its signature moments in this film, you can hear the crickets chirping as the attempt at humor fails in their faces. Instead of dazzling and hilarious dialogue, this film gives you bold and loud characters who carry on conversations artificially designed to stir up racial tensions between Jews and black people.
Eddie Murphy is the titan of the comedy genre. His iconic roles in Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and Coming to America established him as an all-time gamer, and in this film, he plays a more reserved and introverted character. He’s less talkative and more of an honest man in this film, giving a comedic performance that is flat and in control. It’s far from his funniest role yet, but it fits the film in what feels like a combination of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and Meet the Parents, with Murphy channeling his inner Niro.
The problem here is the storyline which makes everyone old archetypes. Hill played a well-meaning goofy man and Murphy played a strict father who wants the best for his daughter. His comments on race relations seem reductive when we have a character like Shelley (Louis-Dreyfus), who is so ignorant and deaf that he comes across as a caricature of a white man. Conversations feel like they belong in a worse version of Get Out, as they expect you to laugh when all they do is engage in awkward political debates about whether Jews or blacks suffer more.
Besides being a political romantic comedy that’s both cynical and heartfelt, everything about its lack of laughs falls short. This is Barris’ feature directorial debut, and it is clear how each scene transition is filled with graphics and song, a style that seems intended for television and music videos and has no place in film. The authoritative soundtrack is accompanied by a story without surprises or subtleties. Add to that a lack of chemistry between the two romantic leads and some barely resolved subplots, and you have a film that churns out a talented cast and gives them nothing to work with. You People features unlikable characters and a story so formulaic that its execution never goes beyond witty and engaging comedy.
As explained in ComingSoon’s review policy, a score of 3 equals “Poor”. Due to significant issues, this media seems like a chore to manage.