Josh Kaplan

The most offensive thing about 'You People' is how stupid it is

Jonah Hill's new film is jam-packed with cliches, stereotypes and cheap Shoah jokes

February 03, 2023 15:08

America is a place that has had a vice-like grip on the world's imagination for the best part of 100 years. What happens there, inevitably finds its way here, through films, TV, music, the whole shebang.

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, there's also another American cultural export that we seemingly can't get enough of. Stupidity.

'You People' - a film that has managed to enrage Black Twitter, Jewish Twitter, nearly all film critics and polite society, is the latest in a long line of dumb American movies to flog its unique form of stupidity to the masses.

The story of this film, which I'll rehash here to save you the bother of logging into Netflix, is that a Jewish 30-something Ezra (Jonah Hill) is in love with a Black 30-something (Lauren London) but due to the huge and overwhelming cultural differences between them and their families, their courtship is in jeopardy.

Putting aside the fact that two people of a similar age in America do not exist in separate worlds, the film relies on moronic characterisations of Jews and Black people to exaggerate the racial differences between the couples.

The two families are framed in the same vein as the Montagues and Capulets. Every crude stereotype of one race has to be mirrored in the other.

The opposite of sweet but patronising Jewish parents has to be a Farrakhan-supporting Nation of Islam convert couple, the Holocaust has to go toe-to-toe with slavery, the neurotic Jewish uncles have to be juxtaposed with over-the-top Black cousins. It just all feels very cheap.

Sure, it's just a silly made-for-Netflix thing, but when Jewish stars are willing to put their names to something that normalises stupid and inaccurate stereotypes about Jews, then people are entitled to get upset.

The fact that Jonah Hill, someone who has spoken proudly of his Jewish roots is comfortable normalising the views of a notorious antisemite like Farrakhan is a bad thing!

It's also totally unnecessary!

There's been enough culture clash movies with a stern father that we know the format works, it really doesn't have to rely on crude Holocaust gags to sell.

The whole film is obsessed with this Californian idea that absolutely everything is about race and people act solely motivated by the racial stereotypes they were gifted at birth. Race has to be the basis of every discussion, Race is the main reason why relationships from different cultures break down, Race is the source of everyone's biggest problems.

But the film can't even be bothered to follow through with this forced premise. After an entire film spent telling the audience that two people with different backgrounds could never be happy, what happens at the end? Julia Louis Dreyfus apologises to all white people on behalf of all black people and they all live happily every after.

If you're going to disrespect the audience with such horrible writing and acting, you could at least make the story make sense.

You People has none of the smart, precise writing that is necessary to tackle an issue like this. There could have been a genuine movie in this, in the vein of TV shows like Atlanta, or Dave that capture how real people of different races interact that had heart and explored uncomfortable truths. That people may have different values and beliefs, but it's not what defines them etc etc. But You People is definitely not that.

Instead what you have is a glittering cast, debasing themselves with a terrible idea, normalising stereotypes and making cheap, lazy jokes about the Holocaust. And it's skyrocketed to be one of the most viewed things on Netflix this week.

Because You People is on Netflix, its a mass-market product. Its for the masses not the culture and when Jews cheapen themselves in this way, is it any wonder that no-one takes antisemitism seriously

February 03, 2023 15:08

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