All Is Wrong With Modern Comedy

Watching you peopleNetflix’s latest great Hollywood “comedy”, is another depressing reminder (and example) of Hollywood’s ongoing meltdown.

Apparently we can’t have comedies on people more. Everything must be political. Human experience and the human condition are no longer appropriate. Not only does the Message take precedence, but the human experience is sidelined to create one-dimensional Message Bearers instead of flesh-and-blood characters.

you people stars Jonah Hill (who co-wrote) as 35-year-old Ezra Cohen, a Wall Street broker and budding podcaster who longs for love. He meets Amira (Lauren London) after an accident with Uber. Flowers of love.

She’s black, he’s Jewish, and what wants to be an updated version of the reflective (if somewhat overrated) Guess who’s coming to dinner? ends up being an exhausting, overly long, tedious, jaw-dropping wake conference with less in common with the human experience than the canteen of star wars.

How’s that for a meet-cute…

Ezra orders an Uber. He exits his office building in Los Angeles and accidentally gets into Amira’s car. The following looks like this.

Oh, you see a black woman in a cheap car and you assume she’s your Uber driver because we all look alike, you white racist!

First, is a sleek, red Mini Cooper a “cheap car?” According to Google, a Mini Cooper costs between $25,000 and $40,000, and Amira’s Mini Cooper seemed far from used.

Anyway, what exactly is attractive about a woman who is a chip-on-the-shoulder-talking-point-I-am-a-victim-oppressed machine?

So love blossoms, and Amira’s Islamic parents – Fatima (a lost Nia Long) and Akbar (Eddie Murphy, the only one who understands he’s in a terrible movie) – meet Ezra’s leftist Jewish parents. – Shelley (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who should have known better) and Arnold (David Duchovny, who thinks he’s in a different movie).

Oh, and of course Ezra’s sister is gay because, of course.

Comedy only works if you stretch reality. But reality This is the key. If the audience doesn’t believe the characters are real, they won’t laugh. Why? Because the truth is funny, the fake is not.

Nobody, and I mean nobody in You people, is close to reality. They inhabit this film for only two reasons: 1) to shoot sitcom– level punchlines and 2) to deliver the wake-up message. Not only do these characters have no inner life or even the sense of an inner life, but you also can’t imagine them living any kind of life when the camera isn’t on them. They are like those Westworld robots that only turn on when it’s time to play.

One thing I will say is that you people allows Eddie Murphy to prove his genius again. By playing his character straight, he gains nearly all of the very rare laughs from the 118-minute runtime. Murphy holds firmly to his dignity. The others, not so much.

Ezra shows up for his first date with Amira wearing a tie-dye tracksuit. That’s how desperate the movie is for laughs. He’s an adult, a business professional. It’s not funny because it’s wrong.

Akbar invites himself to Ezra’s bachelor party. Somehow the stepfather found out on which flight his future son-in-law is and in which hotel he is staying. Oh, and even though his future stepfather is present, Ezra drinks coke and strippers. Fake, fake, fake.

False: Ezra is afraid to quit his job.

False: the so-called spontaneous podcast scenes.

False: Amira doesn’t get a job because she graduated from Howard instead of Harvard.

Fake: The ridiculously quick way the crisis in the third act is resolved.

False: Ezra and his family are having a casual debate in the middle of a crowded Jewish ceremony.

The worst is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. We’re supposed to believe that a woman in her 60s can’t read a room or know how uncomfortable she makes Amira with her condescending racism. Instead, it’s just one tired, exhausting scene after another of ignorant, racist Shelley trying to prove to Amira that she’s not racist.

The most wrong thing of all, however, is that we’re supposed to believe that Ezra is horrified by his mother’s condescending behavior toward America even as he turns around and behaves in exactly the same way with Akbar – telling one tedious lie after another about his knowledge of black culture and its importance in his life.

Nobody behaves like this.

No one is addicted to race.

I have been in an interracial relationship/marriage since the mid 80’s. None of this has ever happened to us. Nothing close. We merged our traditions and cultures effortlessly and without much thought. My wife loves my family and they love her. I love my wife’s family, and they love me. Why? Because we are people. We are human beings. We are not hung up on things that don’t matter. As fellow Americans, we share so much more in common than not. This is what we have built our family and extended family on, as opposed to the narcissistic terrorism of small differences.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching older comedies: Caddyshack (1980), night patrol (1982), Back to school (1986), easy money (1983), Splash (1984)… And what struck me the most was how apolitical they are. At the time, we took that for granted. But now it seems revolutionary.

This does not mean that these films are not about anything. Rather the opposite. They all deal with universal themes: freedom, snobbery, class differences, integration, unrequited love, fear of failure, finding your place in the world… But the comedy and the heart come from believable characters that everyone can identify. The characters may be large and over the top, but we can relate to their desires and struggles.

This does not mean that a film cannot be political. For example, last night I watched The world according to Garp (1982), which discusses how sex, specifically the need for a man, negatively affects women. Although I find this message ridiculous and superficial for a whole host of reasons, the film works because the film is about real people trying to navigate a complicated world. Because garp is really to learn to forgive and accept people for who they are, stupid sexual politics disappear under humanity.

Who can identify or sympathize with you people Amira, who is always ready to be offended and eager to throw the color of your white skin in your face – who thinks driving a sleek, red Mini Cooper is a symbol of her oppression?

How do you relate to someone as stupid as Shelley?

How do you fit into a movie where every white person needs to be taught a lesson, including our protagonist Ezra?

Although I found Glass onion: a mystery at loggerheads entertaining, it was just as forgettable, and for the same reason: Every Glass Onion The character was a one-dimensional political avatar as opposed to a fully formed human being.

Unfortunately, you people That’s how provincial, sheltered, smug, ignorant, bubbly Hollywood sees us. They are so far removed from reality that for them, you people This is the reality, even though ordinary Americans of all skin colors and cultures have been living together and mixing their families and cultures without thinking too much about it for half a century already.

To say that Hollywood has lost touch with its audience is an understatement. These people are from another planet, another universe, a shallow, silly place where people are blessed with everything but only happy when they feel offended and repressed. Wherever that place is, Mini Coopers are a sign of poverty.

you people is a dumb movie written by sheltered, spoiled, ignorant elitists who only create “art” to please their cult.

you people also deserves some sort of award for the worst waste of star cameos in movie history. Richard Benjamin, Anthony Anderson, Hal Linden, Elliott Gould… You have to be quite untalented to waste all that talent.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook page here.


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