Film Pick of the Week: You People - review by Yvette Huddleston

You PeopleNetflix, review by Yvette Huddleston

This likeable Netflix romcom, which has been billed (a little simplistically) as an updating of the 1967 movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, received rather lukewarm reviews when it first appeared earlier this year, but it is well worth a look.

Starring Jonah Hill, who also co-wrote the script with director Kenya Barris, creator of the successful American TV sitcom Black-ish, it tells the story of what happens when white Jewish investment banker Ezra (Hill) meets Black Muslim costume designer Amira (Lauren London). Both are from wealthy LA families who each have certain expectations of them, but otherwise they have had very different life experiences.

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Ezra is being pressured by his mother Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) to find a nice girl and settle down. She complains that even though he is in his mid-thirties he still dresses like a teenager and she is not impressed that he spends his spare time making a pop culture podcast with his best friend Mo (Sam Jay). In order to pacify Shelley, Ezra goes on dates she arranges with suitable women, but there isn’t ever a spark; what he is looking for is authenticity. Which is also what Amira is seeking – we see her finishing with her boyfriend because, she explains, she feels that nothing he says is ‘real’. Amira’s father Akbar (Eddie Murphy) is protective of his daughter and would like to see her in a relationship with someone he approves of.

Jonah Hill and Lauren London in You People. Picture: NetflixJonah Hill and Lauren London in You People. Picture: Netflix
Jonah Hill and Lauren London in You People. Picture: Netflix

The young couple’s meet-cute, in traditional romcom style, is an accident. Rushing out of his office building, Ezra jumps into Amira’s car – she has momentarily stopped to check her satnav – as he mistakes her for his Uber driver. She rightly admonishes him for this, accusing him of racism. He apologises profusely and to make amends offers to take her for lunch. Over the course of a few dates, they find they are very happy in each other’s company and a tentative romance develops. Then it is time to meet the parents… And that’s when the problems start. Shelley and husband Arnold (David Duchovny) pride themselves on their liberalism yet still manage to make Amira feel uncomfortable, while her parents Akbar and Fatima (Nia Long) are fairly openly hostile towards Ezra.

It may make some of its points a little clunkily, but this is smart and funny, there is a sweet, believable, chemistry between Hill and London and as a romcom it definitely has its heart in the right place.

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