Netflix’s ‘You People’ provides strong commentary, but is weak as a movie 

Illustration by Steven Coleman

The romantic comedy “You People” marked the kickoff of Netflix’s 2023 releases on Friday, Jan. 29. The star-studded cast consists of comedy heavyweights Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy, a pairing that initially drew my attention to the film. The two are pitted against each other when Hill’s character falls in love with Murphy’s daughter and their families humorously clash while planning their wedding.  

The film acts as a commentary for many modern societal topics. It inherently addresses interracial couples and marriage, while also comparing and contrasting African American and Jewish cultures. Hill’s character, Ezra, comes from a wealthy Jewish background, having grown up in western Los Angeles. He ends up falling for Amira — portrayed by Lauren London — who comes from a Black Muslim family in Compton.  

Julia Louis-Dreyfus also stars in the film as Ezra’s mother. Her character is quirky yet somewhat offensive, saying every awkward thing you would fear your parents blurting out in front of a new partner. Many of her scenes were reminiscent of HBO’s “The White Lotus,” as they depended on spoken humor designed to make you cringe. 

Overall, the humor of the film was enjoyable, but nothing had me in stitches. The production value of the project seemed eerily similar to other Netflix originals. Funding was clearly good enough to land its cast, along with a decent set design, but it was still lacking in a cinematic sense. Needless to say, if this film had a commercial release in theaters, I don’t think it would have yielded much profit.  

The plot was very predictable as we’ve come to expect from our usual romantic comedies, nor did it pack the sentimental punch we look forward to at the end. The screenplay was written by Hill as well as veteran writer Kenya Barris, creator of the successful sitcom “Black-ish” and all its spin-off series. You could see his footprinted style in many of the transition scenes which consisted of photos from around L.A. (which I really enjoyed). That, coupled with the content, made the film seem relevant and modern. 

Performances were fine, but for some reason I was expecting more. Maybe it’s because I’ve enjoyed more absurd performances by Hill and Murphy from earlier in their careers. I thought that them sharing the screen would have been more hilarious. That being said, there were still a few witty and comical scenes, particularly one over radio control in the car.  

Hill’s production company, Strong Baby Productions, also produced this film. Another project that Netflix and Strong Baby partnered together on was the progressive documentary “Stutz.” After thoroughly enjoying that film, I had higher expectations for “You People” which were not met. Although I think the film is pretty mid, I still think the relevant societal issues that were addressed were done tastefully. None of the opinions were heavy-handed, and they were brought up humorously without being too preachy. I hope Netflix continues to eloquently blend in this type of commentary in their future projects.  

If you have a particular interest in seeing this movie I would recommend it, but I don’t think it’s anything you have to go out of your way for. If you’re looking for something only somewhat amusing, “You People” could be a valid option. But I would say you have just as good a chance finding something funnier. 

Rating: 3/5 

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