I Watched You People On Netflix And Oh, Man Do I Have Thoughts
Anyone with a Netflix subscription knows that the service is always good for debuting intriguing new content, and the early days of the 2023 new movie releases have been no different. Jonah Hill has returned to the streaming giant just a few months after his documentary, Stutz, took social media by storm, and has teamed with black-ish and #blackAF creator Kenya Barris (with whom he co-wrote the story) to star with comedy legend Eddie Murphy in You People.
I watched the movie over the weekend, and definitely had some strong thoughts on it, which I needed to share. Let’s get into it!
This Movie Isn’t That Funny
Alright, I can freely admit that I’m probably not the biggest fan of comedies that bank on turning a series of awkward situations into a story that fuels repeated laughs, but, boy, oh boy. You People was really dry in terms of bringing the funny for me. And, I did have high-ish hopes of it making me laugh after watching the trailer, though I also fully expect most of the movie to be filled with cringy, racially-based misunderstandings/arguments focused humor.
It’s not even that the movie is more serious than it was billed as, but that many of the bits just don’t land. This includes the scenes where Murphy’s Akbar is riffing to his two kids about how he’s the darkest-skinned person in the restaurant, and later when he’s trying to bait Hill’s Ezra into saying the n-word (among many others), which simply don’t work. My only good laugh came when Akbar asks his son if he knew Ezra’s friend, Mo, had “titties,” and his son casually responds, “Yeah, they’re on her chest.”
They Got Some Recognizable Folks To Play Some Very Small Parts
Most of us realize, as we start any film, that we’re probably going to see a number of recognizable people who weren’t really advertised as being part of the movie. However, I was very surprised to see folks like Rhea Perlman (above), Hal Linden, The Upshaws cast member Mike Epps, Richard Benjamin, La La Anthony, Elliott Gould, and black-ish stars Anthony Anderson and Deon Cole (and more) having a scene or two in the movie. Honestly, I rather enjoy watching a film and being able to go, “OMG, there’s what’s her name/what’s his face!”, so, well done, You People cast.
Nia Long And David Duchovny Are Barely In This Film
Speaking of the cast, am I the only one who thought that Nia Long and David Duchovny, as the spouses of Eddie Murphy and star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ characters, would be around in the movie a lot more than they were? Unfortunately, Duchovny is the only one who really got a chance to shine in the comedy, with his John Legend-singing, oddly Xzibit-loving portrayal of Arnold Cohen. They couldn’t have given Long something to do other than play a serious-faced wife/mother who hates racism?
WHO FIGHTS OVER LIT TAPER CANDLES?!
What even is this scene? Look, I completely understand that everyone in the Mohammed and Cohen clans was already flustered by the time they sat down to dinner, and that things just got worse as they sat and chatted before the meal had even really begun. So, I get a certain amount of poor decision making when it comes to how seemingly basic things would be handled as the evening went on.
However! When Long’s Fatima says she’s having an allergic reaction to the candles on the table and asks that they be removed, not only does Louis-Dreyfus’ Shelley pick the slim tapers up in their holders without blowing them out, but Ezra then makes the ridiculous choice to get up and fight with his mom over those very same candles; struggling with her over them. Anyone who lights candles on a regular basis knows that tapers famously never stay in their holders, sometimes even if you melt a little wax into the bottom and let the taper stick into it. Who in their right mind is engaging in an active struggle over lit candles that, clearly, will fall to the floor, or onto someone’s prized headwear? No one. That’s who.
I’m So Glad Amira Finally Told Shelley How She Was Feeling
While Ezra and Amira’s (Lauren London) parents do a pretty solid job of speaking right up anytime the other family says something they deem racially insensitive, wrong, or tone deaf, Amira puts up with the most shit throughout, and usually because of Shelley. It’s not until the rehearsal dinner for their planned wedding that she finally tells her off, and that moment was well-deserved.
In No Way Do I Believe That Akbar And Shelley Have Solved All Their Problems In One Conversation
Seeing as how Akbar and Shelley have way more to do here than their spouses, it makes sense that they are the ones with the most beef when it comes to the other saying things that rile them up. They don’t exactly hate each other, but it’s very obvious that for them to come to any agreements on their views, it will take a lot of time and effort.
This is why, when they get Amira and Ezra to see each other again after they’ve been broken up for three months, and reveal that they’ve “been talking,” it doesn’t seem realistic that they’re finally really OK with their kids being together. As far as we know, they’ve had one talk, which wouldn’t be anywhere near enough, unless they were only able to agree to disagree about everything, other than the fact that their kids appeared to love each other.
Wait, Am I Supposed To Be Cool With Ezra’s Degenerate Friends Now?
Near the end, Akbar took a lot of heat for the way he treated Ezra throughout the movie, and while he did apologize to him, I gotta say, I’m 100% on his side about at least one thing: Ezra’s degenerate friends.
I completely understand that decent people can have buddies who get up to no good, but his buddies engage in some dangerous and illegal behavior that he both knows about, and has also participated in. When Akbar tagged along on that bachelor party trip to Vegas, we all saw how much cocaine his friends were doing, and heard that Ezra himself is no more than a year past his own cocaine usage.
Not only that, but one of his good friends admitted during his rehearsal dinner speech to storming the capital, saying that Ezra tried to talk him out of it. Listen, if you’re still hanging out with someone who unashamedly took part in that act of domestic terrorism, you don’t know or care enough about anything to marry any kid of mine, and I’d be right there with Akbar trying to shut that romance down.
A Surprise Wedding Is The Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Heard Of
This reveal was actually the kicker for me. Remember how I said that Shelley and Akbar arranged it so that Ezra and Amira could meet up after they’d been broken up for three months? Well, not only did each parent apologize to their kid’s former partner, but they set up a surprise wedding ceremony so that they could marry immediately.
I know we’re supposed to think this is sweet and romantic, but it’s really the dumbest damn thing I’ve ever heard of. Neither family has a full idea of what their kid has been doing or thinking right before this moment. What if Amira and/or Ezra had gotten to the point where they felt like not being together really was the right move? What if both were now over the other enough to not just start dating, but start having sex with other people? For all we know, both had enjoyed sexytimes with other people the night before basically being forced to marry without having been given any prior warning. Makes. ZERO. Sense!
I might not have been the biggest fan of You People, but if you want to check it out for yourself, it’s waiting for you on Netflix.