You People

You People Movie Review

Limited theater release: January 20, 2023

Netflix streaming: January 27, 2023

 

“You People” is a movie about a crash and clash of competing cultures. There is a young White Jewish guy who happens to meet a very nice Black Muslim lady. There is no reason that their relationship shouldn’t blossom and bloom into marriage, right? No reason, except they both have families who are not happy with that idea. The differences are as stark as day and night — or better said — Black and White.

 

Ezra Cohen (played by Jonah Hill) has had a hectic day at the office where he works at, located in downtown LA. He is more concerned about his podcast that he does with an old Black friend named Mo (played by Sam Jay). They talk about current events and about Black culture. That makes sense for Mo, because that is her life. It is a little more odd on the part of Ezra. He is White and well-off and has never had to live in the ‘hood.

 

Ezra gets into the back of small car driven by a young lady named Amira Mohammed (played by Lauren London). She has gotten a little lost driving in the area, and just pulled into to get her bearings. Ezra thinks she is his Uber driver, and he hops in. Amira get wild and starts yelling at Ezra, but then he sees the picture of intended driver. She could be a twin to Amira. No wonder Ezra got mixed up.

 

The two of them start to see each other on small dates, and then regularly. Some type of romance could be in the air, that is — if nothing kills it. The only thing that might kill it would be Ezra’s family — oh, yeah — and Amira’s family.

 

On the Cohen side there is his dad Arnold Cohen (played by David Duchovny) and his mom Shelly (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus). On Amira’s side there could be trouble from Akbar Mohammed (played by Eddie Murphy), who is her dad, and also from Fatima (played by Nia Long), her mom.

 

Amira comes to visit the Cohen household. Ezra is mortified, because Shelly treats Amira like a token ‘Black friend’ that she does not have. Shelly does not travel in ‘those’ type of social circles. Every comment and compliment from Shelly has a borderline semi-racist overtone. Arnold seems to be fixated on rapper Xzibit, for some reason. Ezra is out of his mind with the way they are treating Amira. Later, he asks Amira to marry him.

 

One little problem there, sir. Ezra has not yet met Amira’s family. Akbar and Fatima are with Nation of Islam, so they take their culture and their heritage very seriously. Ezra meets them a famous ‘chicken and waffles’ place in LA. They are no totally impressed with Ezra from the start. But he proclaims his undying love for Amira. He would like to have the blessing, or at least a kind word, from Akbar. “You want to marry my daughter? Well, you can try!”

 

Maybe it would help if Ezra spent some time with Akbar. Of course, that goes about as smooth as sandpaper. Ezra learns that there are some places in the ‘hood where they might question the color of your hoodie. Shelly takes Amira to a very exclusive day spa. As you might imagine, the experience is very exclusive – exclusively terrible. Then there is a time when Amira and Ezra invite both of their parents over to there new house for diner. There is an argument of which group was in slavery the longest, and there is an unfortunate incident involving Akbar’s favorite Muslim headgear, a kufi, being accidentally set ablaze. Good times, good times…

 

The parents decide to ‘help’ with Ezra and Amira as they plan for the wedding. They get some people they know to come in and help plan it all out. So it have either a theme of “TRON in the ‘hood”, or all “Old Hollywood”. What, back when Blacks could come to Hollywood and be a star in a movie — but could not stay at a hotel? All of those ideas get trashed. But next up comes the Bachelor Party. And also the Bachelorette Party.

 

Ezra gets a group of his rowdy friends to go to Las Vegas for wild weekend. But then he sees Akbar is also on the plane to Vegas. He is going there on ‘business’. Now that’s a downer. Amira has a crazy party planned with a few girls she knows. Oh, and also Shelly. Shelly makes one misstep after another. Everyone starts to look at her as the correct place to Pin a Tail on a Donkey.

 

Of course, and it all rolls on, and as the waters roil, it gets to the night before the Wedding Day. There is a lot to said, from every guest and every relative. That includes Amira Uncle EJ (played by Mike Epps). He tells of the wild times he had with ‘Woody’, Akbar’s name before he took the faith. Akbar has some dirty laundry on Ezra, but he never brings it up. Shelly and Amira have a little talk that goes into a dust-up. Ezra and Akbar do the same. Amira and Ezra both feel the weight coming down on them, so much so that they decide to ‘call the whole thing off’…

 

But will this be the last note of the duet of romance played by Ezra and Amira? Will a break up mean that every person in their lives has been coming down to hard on them? Will any answer be found in the future? Will Black and White finally work together, like the keys of a piano?

 

“You People” has an interesting idea to start with, having a wild and crazy mix-up between two people from different cultures. Jonah Hill and Lauren London do a reasonably good job playing Ezra and Amira. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Eddie Murphy are also pretty funny, being able to have fun with these roles. Director Kenya Barris has done a lot of work in TV sit-coms (“Blackish…”. This movie sometimes gets feeling like it has that ‘sit-comish…” vibe.

 

“You People” is an amusing look at racial differences and how they might interfere with ‘young love’. It works pretty well, but it still has a typical ‘sit-com’ type feel to it.

 
Limited theater release: January 20, 2023

Netflix streaming: January 27, 2023

You People

Directed by: Kenya Barris
Written by: Kenya Barris, Jonah Hill
Starring: Jonah Hill, Lauren London, David Duchovny, Nia Long, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eddie Murphy
Cinematography: Mark Doering-Powell
Edited by: Jamie Nelsen
Music by: Bekon
Distributed by: Netflix
Release date: January 20, 2023 (limited theater release) January 27, 2023 (Netflix streaming)
Length: 118 minutes
MPAA rating: R for language throughout, some sexual material and drug content
Genre: Comedy

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Rating

tmc.io contributor: JMcNaughton tmc

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