Review: You People

So You People was actually the first new release of 2023 that I saw and I can comfortably say it was the best movie I’ve seen this year…

Anywho, a lot to digest in this one. You People stars Jonah Hill as a thirty-something podcaster who falls in love with Amira (Lauren London) after mistaking her for his Uber driver. Their relationship becomes more complicated after they meet one another’s families. Ezra’s (Hill) parents (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny) are well-meaning but their efforts to connect with Amira often turn into misguided conversations about Black culture. Ezra also fails to hit it off with Lauren’s parents (Eddie Murphy and Nia Long) whose appearance and lifestyle is of constant annoyance to her father. From there, the two families continue to collide over issues of race, religion, history, and overstepping boundaries.

This was as predictable a comedy as they come though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Jonah Hill returns with a more politically correct version of his crass “you look like a [insert dick joke here]” routine and at points it’s actually pretty funny. What doesn’t work is the dynamic between him and Eddie Murphy. It’s a trope we’ve seen millions of times: the overprotective father disapproving of the man trying to marry his daughter. It’s essentially Guess Who meets Meet the Fockers. Hill and Murphy have little chemistry together, in part because Murphy’s role feels pretty plug-and-play and not never really lets Murphy do his thing. Scene to scene the film follows a rather simple formula: parent-in-law puts their child’s fiancee in uncomfortable situation, race or religion is called out, cringe humor ensues. Again, there are legitimately funny moments and one-liners in this film, Mike Epps in particular steals every scene he’s in as Amira’s uncle, but it just does the same bit over and over.

It’s also just a mess of a story. The timing and logic of the story and characters often make little to no sense and numerous scenes are never set up for success from the get-go. For example, there is one scene where Akbar (Murphy) takes Ezra to a basketball court and forces him to join the game, clearly trying to embarrass him though Ezra turns out to be an amazing basketball player. This was never mentioned prior or is never alluded to again and despite Ezra finally getting a chance to impress Akbar, this event has no effect on their relationship whatsoever. It’s a 100% pointless scene that doesn’t produce laughs nor move the story forward and there are several of these throughout the course of the film.

It’s been a while since we saw this kind of Jonah Hill performance. 22 Jump Street back in 2015 comes to mind as he’s been doing mostly dramatic work (War Dogs, Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot) or supporting comedic work (Don’t Look Up) since. As someone who grew up loving Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Accepted it was nice to get a taste of the old Jonah. As I mentioned before, Eddie Murphy just doesn’t get a ton to do here. As an overprotective, Muslim father it’s a take on this character we don’t often see, but he never really gets much to do other than scold Ezra and his family. Julia Louis-Dreyfus probably gets a little too much screen time, as if that were ever possible. Every scene with her seems to revolve around the notion that she’s overconfidently trying to relate to Amira when really they have nothing in common. She often boxes out Lauren London from their scenes together, who spends most of the film as a straight woman for either JLD or Hill, and she’s at her best when her and Hill are one-on-one. Duchovny has one of the funnier recurring bits in the movie but isn’t asked to shoulder much aside from a few one liners and Nia Long just isn’t given any good material.

So while this film is not a complete waste of time it’s certainly a flawed studio comedy that probably tries to be smarter than it really is. There will be some memorable one-liners and it’s great to see Hill headlining a studio comedy again, but overall this film is nothing special.

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