January 27, 2023
TV & Film Review | You People (Netflix)

“You People is a unique film that has some great aspects, full of formula breaks. Yet it falls short throughout,” says Darcie Gray

Netflix has another massive movie release schedule for us all this year and kicking things off is a new comedy, You People. The movie is a relatable comedy that centers on the life’s of a couple who happen to be from different backgrounds and heritage. Thanks to Netflix I got to give You People a watch before it releases on the 27 January. 

You People
(L to R) Eddie Murphy as Akbar and Jonah Hill (Writer-Producer) as Ezra in You People. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2023.

KENYA BARRIS

You People is Kenya Barris’ directorial debut. He has previously co-written multiple projects including Girls Trip, The Witches, and Coming 2 America. And his directing follow-up to this will be The Wizard of Oz. He manages to perfectly capture the family dynamics of two American families. With a massive cast made up of Eddie Murphy, Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lauren London, Nina Long, and Anthony Anderson bringing these two at odd families to life.

The families are brought together when Ezra (Hill) meets Amira (London) in possibly the most twenty-first-century meet-cutes I’ve ever seen. Ezra mistakenly gets into Amira’s Car thinking she is his Uber driver – spoiler she’s not and reacts as if anyone would when a strange man gets into your car. But the two get over the initial panic, with a lost Amira accepting help from Ezra.

You People
You People. (L to R) Jonah Hill (Writer-Producer) as Ezra and Lauren London as Amira in You People. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2023.

TIME & LOVE

The film then skips forward some time and the pair are now a couple. Both are drawn together by their love for fashion and complementary personalities. You People does well in building the relationship between the pair. You truly believe they’ve fallen in love, sharing their lives.

However, this isn’t your standard romantic-comedy relationship where every moment builds to the couple getting together. That part of the film is skipped in a time jump. This narrative is an interesting change, but personally, I could have done with a little more screen time being spent exploring the beginning of the relationship. Nonetheless, it’s a twist on an age-old formula. Whilst some elements you’d expect to find in the film are cut short other moments feel too lengthy. At times, I found I was losing interest in scenes, and dialogue running a little too long and even repetitive.

You People. (L to R) Eddie Murphy as Akbar, Lauren London as Amira and Travis Bennet as Omar in You People. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2023.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The cinematography is often jarring, with shot-reverse-shot sequences featuring multiple angles whereas normally only two would be used. The cameras are often in motion. In one scene Ezra meets with Amira’s parents Akbar (Murphy) and Fatima (long) and throughout the camera is slightly panning. In a sort of sway not dissimilar to the movement of a ferry. Again these are breaks from a traditional approach, which can be refreshing and exciting. But here it just didn’t work. The moments do not add to the scene, nor aid the action or draw the viewer’s attention to anything they wouldn’t have seen if fewer angles or movement were used.

COSTUME DESIGN

The Costume designer creates a fluid urban look that works extremely well. Ezra and Amira look great throughout. Their personalities are clearly expressed through their wardrobe choices. Throughout the first act, there is a huge number of shoe shots that transition to feet shots. Now it’s quite clear we are meant to infer that the couple bonded over their love for sneakers. However, because that dialogue is never said or even implied it kind of feels like the film has a slight foot fetish. For a sneaker lover, these shots will be enhanced for sure, but for the rest of us, there is just one too many sneakers-on-feet shots to start feeling uncomfortable.

You People. (L to R) David Duchovny as Arnold, Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Shelley, Jonah Hill (Writer-Producer) as Ezra, Lauren London as Amira, Eddie Murphy as Akbar, and Nia Long as Fatima in You People. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2023.

DRY HUMOR

One thing You People has in droves is comedy. There is a real mixture of dry humor and laugh-out-loud moments. Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy provide dry, satirical humor throughout. But there is one incredibly funny moment when Ezra leaves Amira during her first meeting with his family. When he goes back into the room we find his father playing “Ordinary People” on the piano whilst singing along badly. All the while, Amira has been placed in a chair directly in front of him. It’s so uncomfortable and so random that it’s the funniest moment of the film.

The laughs are matched by some really serious social messages and issues, which the film handles in a sensitive but poignant way. The message of the film is acceptance. But thrown into the mix are a few sweet moments which tie everything together.

You People
You People. (L to R) Jonah Hill (Writer-Producer) as Ezra and Sam Jay as Mo in You People. Cr. Parrish Lewis/Netflix © 2023.

VERDICT

Overall, You People is a unique film that has some great aspects, full of formula breaks. Yet it falls short throughout. The cinematography for me is a really strange experience. You People is certainly an interesting watch and gives us a great depiction of family dynamics in the twenty-first century.

You People starts streaming on Netflix on January 27.

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