In You People, Ezra (Jonah Hill) works in finance but is passionate about his podcast where he discusses African American culture. He’s Jewish and his mother Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is constantly trying to set him up with Jewish women who Ezra just doesn’t connect with. Meanwhile, Amira (Lauren London) has issues with her father Akbar (Eddie Murphy) trying to manipulate who she gets to be with.
A chance encounter turns into a first date, which eventually leads to Ezra and Amira wanting to get married. However, Ezra’s family is trying too hard to support people of color, whereas Amira’s family doesn’t understand why she’d ever want to be with a white guy.
There is a genuine aspect of You People, that is much more relatable if you’ve ever struggled to date or find a significant other.
While Shelley and Akbar see someone of a different color dating their offspring, Ezra and Amira just see the individual that they love and want to spend the rest of their life with.
In the same way that a horror film can be torturous with excessive gore, or a romantic comedy can be too mushy with an abundance of sappy dialogue, You People does something similar with its abrasive comedy.
Most of the humor in the film revolves around purposely making someone feel uncomfortable for as long as they possibly can. Everybody lies to impress, and instead of just coming clean when they’re caught, they just dig a deeper hole, which inevitably drags the rest of the film down into the dirt as well.
You People seems to aim to make its audience squirm in their seats. Even when the film isn’t reminding you every second that this is probably the worst romantic relationship ever in the history of coitus and doomed ceremonial bliss, the humor is incredibly awkward.
As an example, Ezra attends synagogue with his family during Yom Kippur at the beginning of the film, but Shelley and Ezra argue over his inability to wear his yarmulke or the super inappropriate penis stuff Ezra’s orthodontist approaches him with afterward comes off as totally bizarre rather than funny.
The culture clash of black and white is the obvious draw to You People, but it is a bit more than that. The film is also a competition between Jews and Muslims and a subtle war between the working class and the financially privileged.
This is all done purposely to argue over whether black slaves suffered more than white Jews. Amira and her family have had to work for everything they have whereas Ezra has always had his parents’ luxury to fall back on if his pursuits for a potential career didn’t pan out.
It also doesn’t help that the humor in the film isn’t very funny at all. Eddie Murphy is criminally underused. Jonah Hill’s, “Holocaust it down,” material about the engagement ring is his only laugh-out-loud material. The rest of the film is the two totally different families basically trying to out-douchebag the other while feeling holier than thou in the process.
An odd aspect of You People is that there is almost no intimacy shown on-screen between Jonah Hill and Lauren Holden. They give each other a quick kiss on the lips in one instance and touch shoed feet on their first date, but they are mostly near each other the rest of the time.
It’s not that there’s a desire to see them be more sensual or sexual on-screen, but it’s odd that there’s this overwhelming lack of affection between the two in a film where it’s really the two of them versus the world.
The underlying cruel nature of the film is also unbelievably peculiar. Eddie Murphy might as well have Jonah Hill strapped to a guillotine because he goes for Hill’s jugular from the start. Akbar sets out to make Ezra fail even though Ezra does everything he can to impress and be a stand-up guy to whom could potentially be his father-in-law.
Julia Louis Dreyfus is a loud-mouthed idiot in every scene, and it’s done in this sugary, full-of-crap, and falsely innocent demeanor. It’s as if her intentions are good, but her words are so politically incorrect and absent-minded that you want to reach through the screen and slap her right in the face.
You People is a cold-blooded comedy filled with miserable characters who are all horrible human beings. The performances are fine if you were meant to walk away hating everyone in this film. Worst of all, this entire scenario can only end one way. There is eventually a moment of sincerity and humility, but it feels like too little too late.
You People is two hours of people being dicks to one another in unfunny fashion with a rushed bow filled with forced heartfelt predictability tacked on at the very end.
- The Holocaust ring jokes.
- Mike Epps
- The struggle of finding someone feels genuine.
- The majority of the film is extremely unfunny.
- Eddie Murphy feels like he’s barely in the film.
- It’s massively predictable.