“You People” review: The issue with performative wokeness

Photo credit: Harald Krichel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“You People,” starring Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy, Lauren London and Julia Louis Dreyfuss was released on Netflix on Jan. 30 and it did the thing I feared it would do after seeing the trailer: it bombed.

The movie is about a white Jewish man named Ezra (played by Hill) and a Black Muslim woman named Amira (played by London) who end up dating, falling in love and getting engaged. They are forced to reckon with their separate identities and racial tension over the course of the film.

It’s held up by its comedic heavyweights, especially Murphy and Hill, two highly accredited actors in their field. However, I don’t think I laughed once during the two-hour runtime.

This film is filled with poorly-delivered jokes about race that an elementary school student or drunk uncle could have written. They pick the easiest, most predictable beats to make their jokes that end up sounding tone deaf. No real-life person is as much of a caricature as this film makes them out to be.

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This same issue pops up again with Murphy’s character who spends the whole time sabotaging Hill, only to keep his secret without reason at the end of the film. The character feels one-dimensional: we don’t know what happened in his past that would make him lash out at Ezra. The audience is just expected to know and accept it.

The film’s most significant issue is its depiction of religion. It seems to poke fun and politicize both Islam and Judaism, refusing to accurately represent either faith. When you’re writing a film about two ideologies that have constantly been discriminated against throughout history, why would you think it’s a good idea to belittle them? Instead, they’re just tools to justify the parents’ horrendous actions throughout the film.

The end may be the most confusing part of the whole film. The parents suddenly change their minds with little explanation. Again, the audience must suspend disbelief and accept the cheap, undeserved ending. it.

Overall, “You People” was a dumpster fire of a film. Its only redeeming quality comes from the character Mo (Sam Jay), Hill’s best friend who we see maybe once or twice.

For a film that stars two of the greatest comedy actors in the world, it had the potential to do better. I, as a film viewer, feel offended and deserve to be compensated for my time.

Rating: 1.25/5.