Director: Kenya Barris
Date Created: 2023-01-27 00:00
There are 3 main things that stop You People from being a good movie:
1)The tense race relations are highly exaggerated, unfair, and rely solely on looking for reasons to be offended.
2) There is absolutely NO chemistry among the main characters AT all.
3) The script is painfully juvenile, a string of failed jokes that linger on for far longer than necessary.
In this You People Analysis, we’ll discuss in depth these 3 things that made You People, not so great of a movie.
You People Analysis | 3 Reasons It’s Not Good
Inspired by the 1967 film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a white, Jewish man and a black, Muslim woman fall in love but must overcome racial obstacles created by their prejudiced parents.
These parts of You People stuck out to me the most: the unrealistic race discussion, the non-existent romantic chemistry, and the cringey script.
The Unrealistic Race Discussion
You People doesn’t approach the racial discourse in a realistic, well-rounded way.
With “urban,” hip-hop, music transitions, several references to shoes, black barber shops, graffiti, and basketball – You People often felt like a McDonald’s commercial marketed towards black people. As a black person myself, it felt a bit like pandering.
The fact that Jonah Hill, the main character who is Jewish, completely adopts more of black culture and neglects his own culture shows the more “dominant” side of the racial war that this film is grounded on.
In an effort to appeal to “the culture”, it feels as though this movie further stereotypes it. Drawing harsh lines about how black people are vs. how white people are which lacks the nuance of reality.
When there are offenses of racist behavior it’s mostly the white, Jewish family having to apologize without the black family acknowledging their fault in the matter. I don’t know much about Jewish culture but this film definitely put their side of the argument on the back burner, often unfairly portraying the Jewish family as oblivious, tone-deaf racists.
My biggest qualms with the whole race issue were that it seemed like both races were purposefully looking for outlets and opportunities to be offended by something that is innocently said or done.
A lot of the “issues” that the two families were having with each other began because they were preemptively defensive and already believed that the other side had bad intentions.
The characters often seemed to mistake ignorance for racism, condemning others over honest mistakes.
Romantic Chemistry is Non-Existent
This romantic chemistry between Ezra and Amira is so non-existent that it may as well be trigonometry because the math is not mathing.
Who cast Jonah Hill with Lauren London? Did they not do a chemistry read first?
I remember when Ezra first hugged Amira from behind after their “sex scene” (AKA: a shot of some toes wiggling under sheets), I physically cringed. She did not look comfortable being physical with him which explains the CGI kiss.
They had 3 kisses in the film, all small, little, less-than-a-second kisses. But their final kiss — not even a real kiss.
And some spectators in the audience had the audacity to say that their kiss was, “Just a little heavy on the tongue.” As if.
Besides the lack of physical chemistry, they just did not make sense together as a couple.
What did they connect on besides the fact that Ezra likes black culture and so does she?
They shared a few laughs but so what? Friends laugh together all the time.
And they state that they fell in love because it felt like they really understood each other but we only see a montage of them laughing. There isn’t much evidence that their understanding of each other goes deeper than that.
As a viewer, I had a hard time rooting for their love. I’m not convinced it’s real. There’s no visceral energy there. Why are they together?
The Cringey Script
Oh, Kenya Barris. This is not a good script.
Barris has a history of making racial-centered comedies like the show “Black-ish,” “Black AF,” and “Mixed-ish.” While watching this movie, I got a hint of the same undertones of Kenya Barris’s writing and turned to Google to confirm that yes, he was part of writing this script along with actor, Jonah Hill, and he even makes a cameo in the movie.
The script is painfully unfunny and unnatural. There’s so much superfluous dialogue that was supposed to be funny but was wasteful and annoying instead. There’s a huge lack of creativity in the dialogue and the camera work. The whole movie just feels so spiritually and creatively dead.
The thing is, this narrative tackles a very real circumstance of two people from different races, races with a very heated, complex history, having to reconcile their families’ objections and prejudices, overt and covert, against their love. It’s very real and relatable for many people, but this script makes a caricature out of that reality.
It takes the most “pro-black,” still fighting for freedom man (Eddie Murphy) and his family, and pits them against a casual white, Jewish family who means well but isn’t pushing their beliefs down anyone’s throats. Already, the match-up there is uneven and heavily skewed to favor the black culture.
A more realistic portrait of this interracial dynamic in modern-day America would take two families, somewhat equally involved in their beliefs, and allow the subtle displays of racial and cultural disrespect slowly build and unravel with time. Give a little suspense. Build the tower of offense, before you cause the climactic knockdown.
Rather, what this script does is start off with unfounded offense and a heavily skewed playing field. It’s difficult to take the well-intentioned overall message of this film seriously when it’s so cartoonishly executed.
You People is a tone-deaf romantic comedy about racially tone-deaf people. Oh, the irony. In an effort to make a film on racial unity, it further perpetuates divisive racial stereotypes.
You People contains a bad script with no character chemistry and an exaggerated race discussion that lacks all the nuance of modern-day racial relations. It’s a somewhat entertaining movie with sweet intentions, I’m sure, but the quality of the themes and relationships within the script are very poorly constructed.
What do you think of You People? Let me know in the comments below!
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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,