Star Rating:

You People

Streaming On: Watch You People on Netflix

Director: Kenya Barris

Actors: Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Duchovny, Lauren London

Release Date: Friday 27th January 2023

Genre(s): Comedy

Running time: 118 minutes

Ezra (Jonah Hill) is a podcast host and financial broker. Amira (Lauren London) is a costume designer who's recently split from her boyfriend. When the two have a meet-cute and decide to get married after a whirlwind romance, they introduce one another to their parents (Eddie Murphy and Nia Long, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny). However, their cultures soon find clash points and leads to more than a few awkward moments...

Culture-clash comedies are nothing new, and neither are rom-coms centred around parents clashing with parents. There's so much to mine for material, but 'You People' somehow manages to take all of its positives and somehow turn them into negatives. With an embarrassment of comedic riches in its cast, 'You People' shrivels them all down to just flattened tropes with little or no depth or substance to any of it. Eddie Murphy plays a no-nonsense Black man who enters the scene with a hoodie that says 'FRED HAMPTON WAS MURDERED' and later talks about a kufi he received from Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam and virulent anti-semite. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, meanwhile, plays a mother who overcompensates on every liberal touchpoint as much as possible.

Put them in a room together and the sparks fly as often as they can, but ultimately, 'You People' tells the same joke over and over and over and over until you're just sick and tired of it. American culture is hopelessly divided as we all know, but you'd imagine the nature of this division would have brought forth some kind of unifying comedy by now. Not even with two titans of comedy like Eddie Murphy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, it seems.

What's more, they're both endlessly better than the material put in front of them, and you can tell that some of the best moments and sharpest lines were made on the hoof as an ad-lib in the moment rather than anything there in the script. Jonah Hill and Lauren London have almost no chemistry together, and Hill in particular seems to be playing his role almost half-heartedly. David Duchovny gives a chuckle or two, particularly when he croons and tinkles out a crap cover of John Legend's 'Ordinary People'.

Kenya Barris' direction and his script with Jonah Hill ultimately squander any of the goodwill this cast's presence generates. There aren't nearly enough funny moments in 'You People', and those that are really just flattened out by how often they're repeated or stretched. An extended sequence for the bachelor party just goes on long past being funny, even though it becomes a crucial part of the story. The jokes themselves never have any kind of real edge to them, instead turning them either into teachable moments or wringing it out in other ways.

While it does have a rom-com's sense of optimism and wish fulfilment, 'You People' takes it to extreme levels and becomes just another bland chunk of content housed on Netflix's servers - even with this cast.