Steffi’s Review: ‘You People’ – a look at interracial couples
‘You People’ is a new age romantic comedy that tackles the conversation of interracial relationships and racialized tensions with added humor, leaving audiences cringing, laughing and saying “What the?” The film was directed by Emmy-winning ‘Black-ish’ creator Kenya Barris and co-written by Jonah Hill who is the main star of the film alongside his love interest London Lauren and archrival/father-in-law Eddie Murphy.
The film follows Ezra (Jonah Hill) a Jewish broker from West LA who is in desperate pursuit of love while also simultaneously co-hosting a podcast with their Black best friend Mo (Sam Jay). They talk about the “culture” you know… shoes, music, fashion and sports. In the wise words of Abark (Eddie Murphy), “you just going to say culture and leave Black out?”
Remember this is a romantic comedy so, in casual rom-com destiny, Ezra meets Amira (Lauren London) by wrongly entering her car and assuming she was an Uber driver. But don’t worry, the two go on a date and fall in love, becoming each other’s “boos.” Six months later, our boy Ezra is ready to propose. This is where the film begins to pick up because both Ezra and Amira confront the uncomfortableness of being an interracial couple and having to maneuver through their family’s expectations, judgment and approval.
As you can imagine Ezra’s family is overly-white and they compensate for that by having Ezra’s mother Shelly (Julia Louis Dreyfus) ask over-bearing questions and statements that show her depiction of Amira as a shiny doll for admiration and not for the human being that she is.
While in Amira’s family, her father Abark is overly protective of a white man entering his family and disrupting their strong family dynamic. He pushes Ezra to the edge by testing the limits of his whiteness and comfort by making him wear the wrong color to a Black LA barbershop and asking him “who’s in Paris?”
The film ends with both parents realizing that they shouldn’t have their judgments or concerns stand in the way of their children’s love and they end with a beautiful giant wedding.
Although this film got mixed reviews, some loved it for its tackle on interracial relationships in the modern-day and others thought this is a played-out concept that we’ve seen before in films like ‘Who’s Coming to Dinner’ and ‘Guess Who.’ Personally, I don’t love this movie. I can appreciate the conversation and awkwardness it provides to audiences with a level of relatability of what interracial dating looks like at times from your family, friends and society.
I would love to see a wider array of interracial dating on the big screen where white men and women don’t have to be the lead love interest. Love isn’t just black and white, it’s multi-colored and vibrant. These love stories exist yet they don’t get told.
Love it or hate it, ‘You People’ is a film that you should take the time to watch and dissect the plot, the characters, and the overall meaning of the film. The film is true to its time and maybe will be considered a classic. I doubt it but it doesn’t hurt to watch.
Side note: Jonah Hill doesn’t have enough game or swag to ever pull someone like London Lauren. Let’s be real.