Eddie Murphy is having somewhat of a comeback thanks to Netflix. Beverly Hills Cop 4 is supposedly in the works for the streaming service, but before that arrives the legendary comedian has teamed up with Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill for the racially charged comedy, You People. As with any comedy, your preference for humor will largely dictate how much you enjoy the film.
The premise of the film is similar to that of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, only a comedy with the racial roles reversed. Ezra (Jonah Hill) is a Jewish sneakerhead from Brentwood who wants to marry Amira (Lauren London), a Muslim and independent Black woman. When they meet each other’s parents, the cultural disconnect is the main source of humor, especially from Ezra’s mother Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), and Amira’s father Akbar (Eddie Murphy).
Some people will undoubtedly find the film extremely humorous. I was not one of those people. The humor is largely skewed at Shelley’s ineptitude when trying to get to know Amira and bond with her parents. It’s not particularly original. This is coming from someone who greatly enjoyed BlackAF, the Kenya Barris Netflix series.
Ezra and Amira are the main focal points of the film. They meet near the beginning of the movie, go on a date, then there’s a “six months later” sequence and Ezra is ready to propose. This would be more believable if there was any chemistry between Ezra and Amira. They have a somewhat awkward first date, then there are a couple of moments before the time skip, but everything after that is tense or argumentative.
There are some candid points about racism in the film, some covered in a thin veil of comedy, but most simply fall flat. A vast majority of the movie is over the top. The comments, the acting… everything is over the top. Then toward the end of the film, everything gets deadly serious. That drastic contrast simply doesn’t work. The movie feels like an average comedy from the mid-90s.
All that said, Julia Louis-Dreyfus does everything she can with the lackluster script she was given. We’ve seen her shine in projects like Veep, but here she struggles because the material just isn’t as good. Her husband in the film, Arnold, is played by David Duchovny. He has much better delivery and far better lines than almost everyone else in the film. His part isn’t very big, but almost everything he does works. Likewise, Akbar’s brother EJ (Mike Epps) has an equally limited presence, but some of the best jokes in the film.
Like many Netflix films, You People feels as though it relied too much on the star power of the cast. Kenya Barris and Jonah Hill wrote the script, and both have written phenomenal stories in the past, but something was off here. However, like any comedy, if the jokes land for you, then you’ll get considerably more enjoyment out of this two-hour film. Unfortunately, they did not land for me.
About You People
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
Writers: Jonah Hill, Kenya Barris
Stars: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Runtime: 1 Hour, 57 Minutes
Releases: January 27, 2023 (USA)
Bryan Dawson has been writing professionally since the age of 13. He started his career as a video game writer and has since worked for Random House, Prima Games, DirecTV, IGN, AOL, the British Government, and various other organizations. For GNN, Bryan taps into his passion for movies.