Despite negative reviews, You People was overall enjoyable

Through the moments of discomfort, this film has a good message


You People reached number one on the Netflix top ten with 55 million hours viewed.

Kenya Barris’s You People was released Jan. 20, 2023 and stars Jonah Hill (who was also a producer), Lauren London, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Eddie Murphy. The film has reached the number one spot on Netflix’s top ten movies and has held that spot for over a week.

The film follows a couple, Ezra (Jonah Hill) and Amira (Lauren London). Ezra comes from an extremely white Jewish family while Amira comes from an extremely Black Muslim family. Though the two of them quickly form a strong relationship, when they get engaged and their families enter the picture, their relationship is tested.

While Ezra finds himself budding heads with Amira’s father, Akbar (Eddie Murphy), Amria struggles to connect with Ezra’s mother, Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), largely because the parents don’t know how to behave around people entering their family who are a different race.

Despite the movie being categorized as a rom-com, the film isn’t really about their relationship. All the audience sees of the relationship is their meeting, a couple scenes over the span of several months of their relationship, and less than half way through the movie they are engaged.

In this sense, You People is an unconventional rom-com, so if you’re expecting something along the lines of Sleepless in Seattle or When Harry Met Sally, it would be wise to leave those expectations at the door.

The movie has received fairly poor reviews since its release, with only a 45% on Rotten Tomatoes. I think most who disliked this movie were those who expected a heavier focus on romance and comedy. Of course, both were present in the movie, but less so than the social commentary.

Honestly, the film feels like more satirical than anything. Both of these families are caricatures of the modern Black Muslim family and the modern Jewish family. I think a lot of viewers took issue with the main concept of the movie, that an interracial couple still has problems in 2023. Though an interracial couple is widely accepted in the modern day, this movie does a good job of pointing out the fact that some people still take issue.

Also, the fact is, these are exaggerated characters. Very few are really that extreme on either side, but these families’ extreme nature plays into the comedy of the movie, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

The film makes bold claims about the world and race, and raises the question, can these very separate worlds really collide? Obviously, the moral of the story is yes. You get the happy ending with this film, and they take the expected direction that love is more important.

But before we get the happy ending, there are a lot — and I mean a lot — of uncomfortable moments. Moments that made me turn away from the screen and writhe. As uncomfortable as it may be, it’s worth noting that the acting has to be very strong to pull that off; to perform in a way that is able to make viewers that uneasy is impressive. 

All this being said, this movie was by no means perfect. There was little style in the cinematography, and the sets, music, and overall visual played it very safe. In these ways, it stayed true to its genre.

I also didn’t feel that this was Jonah Hill’s best performance. It could be the writing, but he is just very awkward. And that’s an important aspect of his character, which he plays well. My issue is that there aren’t enough moments where we see who Ezra really is. We see lots of these uncomfortable moments between him and various characters, but there are few moments of redemption when we see Ezra’s likable side.

In fact, the character development is pretty shallow throughout the movie. Again, this isn’t uncommon in the rom-com genre, but seeing as this movie was clearly trying to dig a bit deeper, it seems like the characters could have used a bit more depth, especially for Ezra and Amira.

Despite the cons, I found this movie to be pretty enjoyable. It does a great job of providing multiple perspectives. I really liked the fact that it wasn’t just: white man brings black girlfriend to meet family and they’re racist and it’s uncomfortable, but that we see Amira’s family and they’re bias as well.