You People Review – an average rom-com that tries to modernize the Meet the Parents trope

By Adam Lock
Published: January 27, 2023 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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you-people-review
2.5

Summary

By-the-numbers rom-com that follows your standard, stereotypical formula, even with the added racial politics. This isn’t quite Get Out, with watered-down messages and an overbearing, unsubtle culture clash angle. Jonah Hill is his usual charming self though and the rom-com elements are all there. It just feels like a missed opportunity overall.

We review the Netflix film You People, which does not contain spoilers.

Over the last couple of years, the Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill has slowly moved away from starring roles in Hollywood hits, choosing to write and direct smaller movies of his own instead. The famous actor growing tired of the limelight, deciding to disappear behind the camera is nothing new, but Hill has garnered early successes from this tricky transition.

Coming-of-age skater indie Mid90s was praised for its rawness and authenticity, while the Netflix documentary Stutz currently holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Hill continues to stretch his creative talents, writing and producing Netflix’s rom-com You People, although he can’t help but co-star in this one too.

You People Review and Plot Summary

Marking the directorial debut of Kenya Barris (Black-ish), You People is a collaborative effort between Hill and Barris, who explore themes of race and religion in a modern-day setting. Hill plays Ezra Cohen, a Jewish white man, who is for all intents and purposes, hopelessly unlucky in love. The broker exits his office building one day and inadvertently hops into a stranger’s car, which he mistakes for an Uber. This bizarre meet-cute introduces Ezra to Amira Mohammed (Lauren London), a black Muslim woman, who is also struggling in the relationship department.

These two singletons from entirely different races, religions and cultural backgrounds form an unlikely bond and are soon dating, falling madly in love with one another at rapid speed. The rom-com handbook states that after this initial whirlwind romance the couple must agree to marry and then meet the parents. Fast-forward six months and our loved-up duo is doing just that. And as you’d expect, their two families clash. Ezra’s mother Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) attempts to be cool and progressive, yet she’s actually wildly inappropriate and condescending. Whereas Amira’s father Akbar (Eddie Murphy) is uptight and antagonistic towards Ezra.

The opposing families argue over race and religion at their first dinner together, bringing up slavery and the Holocaust before the main course is served. Ezra and Amira try to play mediators, but these historic scars run deep. Hill and Barris raise important issues with their biting social commentary, but this is no Get Out. The rom-com formula takes precedence as we move towards the eventful wedding day finale. Along the way, you can expect the usual ‘Meet the Parents’ style antics and the done-to-death pre-wedding drama. It’s all very familiar, even with the topical agenda and cultural politics.

Is the movie You People good?

You People is a by-the-numbers rom-com that throws in themes of race and religion in a poor attempt to appear relevant. These watered-down statements address important issues, but frame them in a flippant, sometimes comedic manner. In other words, if there is an important message at the center of this movie, then it gets lost in all the genre conventions and an overarching, sillier tone.

That been said, the romance appears genuine for the most part between Hill and London, while the comedy is pretty solid throughout. When Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy are sparring it shows glimpses of a fun, throw-back film, in a similar vein to Meet The Parents or other rom-coms from that era, but this all somehow gets buried underneath the pretentious motifs.

There’s lots of potential in this culture clash narrative and the cast are clearly game (David Duchovny and Mike Epps warrant more screen time), but it just doesn’t work overall. This is the type of Netflix Original that will storm the charts for a couple of weeks, before fading out of memory altogether. A promising rom-com that ticks all the standard genre convention boxes, without offering anything new or interesting.

What did you think of the Netflix film You People? Comment below.

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