You People (Comedy, Romance) (2023)
Director: Kenya Barris
Writer: Kenya Barris, Jonah Hill
Stars: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Cultures clash between a Jewish and Muslim African-American family when their children start dating with ideas about marriage soon after.
Co-written with Jonah Hill, Kenya Barris, known for TV series such as "Black-ish" and its spin-offs, creates "You People", putting a comedic spin on racial and cultural tension and socio-political issues. It's been entirely filmed in Los Angeles with a varied cast and produced by Khalabo Ink Society, Strong Baby and Misher Films while distributed on Netflix.
As the Jewish podcaster Ezra Cohen (Jonah Hill) starts dating Amira Mohammed, the daughter of devout Islamic parents, societal tensions and expectations quickly clash. Despite the couple quickly and hopelessly falling in love, family perspectives differ. Ezra's mother is cheerfully ignorant as Amira's father takes a more militant approach.
Within a world of "woke culture" and expectations of acceptance often blown out of proportion, "You People" is a two-sided narrative. Highlighting the difference between cultures while openly showing a romantic plot. Social politics, stereotyping and cultural discussion are heavily featured in "You People" and will be part of this review; while usually staying impartial and avoiding broad discussions on these topics within reviews, here it's unavoidable—please take heed.
To produce an interracial relationship comedy could present as an engaging and more-uncommon picture, comedic freedom is a part of this film intentionally inflating stereotypes. Interactions between the Cohens and Mohammed are both tense and strenuously comedic. We're treated to somewhat of a throwback cast in Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny, all of which provide their moments with Murphy and Louis-Dreyfus at the forefront.
Trying to be modern, yet taking a comedic approach of a different time, brings with it many cringe-worthy moments and humour. Murphy stood out with some stand-out lines and his demeanour, which seems to be entirely distanced from any other actor in the flick. As "You People" attempts a relatable script, it sadly presents as being stuck in the past, comedic intent or not. The disparity, as seen exists but is shown as wholly alienating and polarising.
If you'd have to describe "You People" in one way, it'd be the person saying they can't be racist because they have black friends. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's an overtly racist or antisemitic film, but parts of this sentiment are not avoided.
As said, these topics have to be discussed. There's importance to having comedic freedom, and everyone's brand of comedy differs, we're to respect that too. In "You People", there's simply a problem of some topics being poorly confronted, which comes across badly.