The Pitch: 35-year-old Ezra Cohen (Jonah Hill) is having a tough time finding love and manifesting a partner who sees him for who he truly is. Or, as he puts it, he’s feeling like Views-era Drake, when he should really be feeling like Certified Lover Boy-era Drake. In between working a boring finance job, he hosts a podcast with his best friend Mo (Sam Jay) that covers a variety of topics, but often revolves around Black culture.
When he meets costume designer and fellow Los Angeles dweller Amira (Lauren London), sparks fly immediately: They quickly begin a relationship, fall in love, support each other’s dreams, and eventually move in together. Despite the differences in their cultural backgrounds — Amira is a Black Muslim who grew up in the now-gentrified Baldwin Park, and Ezra is a Jewish guy from Brentwood — they’re bound together and agree to get married.
However, those cultural backdrops are a little trickier to navigate than they expected — specifically each other’s parents. Amira’s mother Fatima (Nia Long) and father Akbar (Eddie Murphy) are immediately convinced that Ezra’s background and personality are a poor match for their daughter, while Ezra’s parents, Shelley and Arnold (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and David Duchovny), are frequently mired in “I’m not racist!” theatrics that end up being totally offensive to Amira.
Both Ezra and Amira are determined to get along with the other’s families, and spend individual time with them to better bond before the wedding. The resulting clashes between both Akbar and Ezra and Shelley and Amira are comical and intense, as the lovers’ union is threatened by their parents’ inability to treat their future children-in-law with enough dignity and respect.
Helmed by black-ish creator Kenya Barris, with a screenplay from Barris and Jonah Hill, You People seeks to be a refreshing update of a common story, characterized mainly in the films Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner from 1967 and its 2005 remake, Guess Who. However, Barris and Hill do a terrific job of acknowledging the differences in race relations in 2023, and how their cultural distinctions are much more nuanced than “she’s black, he’s white.”
Comedy Gold: Even beyond some of the cringe-worthy chats that characterize the conflict in You People, the comedy comes from everywhere. Jonah Hill’s Ezra is chock full of hilarious one-liners and reaction shots, while London’s Amira is similarly magnetic. There’s a lightness to their story, often reaffirmed by the colorful B-roll of Los Angeles’ romantic, comforting scenery that breaks up their scenes. The chemistry between the two leads may not be indestructible, but luckily, their comedic chops and charismatic air give us a lot to root for.