Meeting the parents is never easy, in this rom-com You People, things are about to get extra messy. You People welcomes a seasoned cast including, Nia Long, Jonah Hill, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Eddie Murphy. Once co-stars on Saturday Night Live, Murphey and Dreyfus come together to add what seems like a modern/millennial spin on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. From the creator of “Black-ish”, Kenya Barris the movie is co-written by star Jonah Hill who plays Ezra Cohen, the Jewish co-host of a podcast with a Black friend named Mo (Sam Jay) about racial differences.
Long before he was a creative force to be reckoned with, feature director and filmmaker Kenya Barris was raised in South Los Angeles — home to enclaves like Inglewood, Baldwin Hills and Compton, which have been immortalized in such TV shows as Insecure, Moesha and his own smash hit Black-ish.
Meanwhile, years before he would even dream of earning two Oscar nominations as an actor, Jonah Hill spent his earliest years in the sprawling melting pot of West Los Angeles. Barris and Hill’s upbringings and cultural experiences couldn’t have been more different. They were literally and figuratively divided by the Interstate 10, the freeway that cleaves the city. Still, the one thing they share like an ineffable bond is the pride they both take in their beloved city. And now, with their new cross-cultural romantic comedy You People (which is directed by Barris, stars Hill and which they co-wrote), the two Angelenos have taken all the things that they love most about their hometown — the sights, the sounds, the smells — and put them up on the screen. “At the core of it,” Barris tells Tudum, “this was a love letter to LA.” – Netflix
Ezra, a Jewish investment banker, meets Black costume designer Amira (Lauren London) by chance, mistaking her for his Uber driver. But from this strange, yet hilarious encounter, romance fills their hearts. Some would see them as the ‘odd couple’, yet their romance bloomed. Eventually, they meet each other’s parents. Ezra’s mother and father (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny) leap through awkward hoops to prove their liberal credentials.
When Arnold (Duchovny) drops the name of rapper Xzibit into the conversation, it sounds as though this is the only Black person he can think of, again letting awkward humor fester. Meanwhile, Amira’s parents, especially her father, Akbar (Eddie Murphy), are clearly not pleased with their daughter’s decision to marry a white man.
Akbar tries to scare Ezra off, pushing him into incidents designed to make him fail, whether it’s putting him on a basketball court or wearing the wrong gang color to a barbershop. When the couple gets ready for their bachelorette and bachelor parties, the in-laws crash, joining the future bride and groom on their respective bachelorette and bachelor party excursions. This definitely threw tension into the mix during a time that’s supposed to be about relaxation and unwinding before taking the leap into marriage.
In this interracial, interfaith, bigotry-teasing comedy, Murphy (Muslim) and Louis-Dreyfus (Jewish) whet the comedy as their characters are designed to stifle and hopefully stop Ezra and Amira’s plans to wed. Shelley’s superficial embrace of Amira becomes exhaustingly offensive. Shelley exhibits a stereotypical, surface view of her future daughter-in-law, without initially trying to truly ‘see her’ as an individual (despite race, religion or style).
As cliché as it may sound, love wins in the end with this rom-com. The in-laws make an effort to look beyond the years of racial and religious divide and open up to the idea of simply letting their children be who they are and love who they want. Cultural differences do not have to be the beginning of the end, the change starts from within.