I was given press passes to Peeples. I was given no other compensation for writing this post. As always, my opinions are my own. My stories are in blue. If you want to skip it and just get the review – read the black. Want a view inside my mind on this film? Check out my (totally different) review on EvaLoves.com.
I never had a boy come to meet my parents at my house growing up. The first time a boy pulled up in my driveway just to say hi, I got grounded for two weeks. My aunt was visiting from Tobago, and she made a huge deal out of the whole thing. I don’t remember him ever getting out of the car.
Movies about meeting the parents of your significant other always seem to be comedies. Makes sense to me – sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. During my teen and young adult years, I would just take dates to meet my best friend’s parents. It was just easier that way – for all of us. I remember being at the movies with my best friend and her daughter when she came to DC for spring break, and cracking up with her at the previews for Peeples.
One time I got permission for a fella to come by the house. I was so pleased. I cleaned the house, top to bottom, and got myself all cute. For some reason, as soon as I was done, my dad decided to make smoked herring. I know Caribbean dads consume all forms of canned, preserved, smoked, and salted meats, but herring? I can’t even begin to describe my horror. I ended up driving with the windows down to meet the guy up the street. Fortunately, it didn’t take too long for my hair and clothes to release the smell.
When the opportunity came up for me to check out Peeples, I had to call my best friend to be my “plus one.” The family and friends of the writer and director of the film as well as that of the star sat in front of us eagerly awaiting the start of the film, just like the two of us. Well, not JUST like us – for family, I am certain the anticipation was different. With family it always is… different.
My brother brought a girl to meet us in Atlanta for the Caribbean Carnival. I had met her a couple times before, and he was sure he was going to marry her. Everything was going well. After a long day at the parade, we all went back to the room with our leftover Caribbean goodies. Everyone found a spot to take a nap. A loud THUD woke us all up. It was the sound of a roti hitting the bottom of the trash can. This girl had thrown away the roti. Needless to say, they didn’t get married. Tell you the truth, I think that is the last time I saw her.
Sparks fly when Wade Walker (Craig Robinson) crashes the preppy Peeples annual reunion in the Hamptons to ask for their precious daughter Grace’s (Kerry Washington) hand in marriage. Wade might be a fish-out-of-water among this seemingly perfect East Coast clan, but he’s not about to let himself flounder. Instead, in a wild weekend of fun, dysfunction and hilarious surprises, Wade is about to discover there’s room for all kinds of Peeples in this family, no matter their differences. Writer and first-time director Tina Gordon Chism (writer of DRUMLINE) joins forces with Tyler Perry to present a laugh-out-loud look at the family ties that freak us out . . . but bind us together with love.
Tyler Perry’s Peeples stars Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler Williams, Melvin Van Peebles, and Diahann Carroll, and is written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism. PEEPLES is a presentation of Lionsgate and 34th Street Films, and a 34th Street Films /Stephanie Allain/Paul Hall/Lionsgate production. – PeeplesMovie.com
People could have felt a little intimidated meeting my “peeples”. My mom was a doctor, and my dad was a lawyer. We weren’t living like the Peeples family in this movie, but it wasn’t hard for people I dated to build up that sort of picture in their minds. Add that to the fact that my parents were “foreigners” (grew up in the south – they didn’t get many), and my dates weren’t exactly eager to drop by.
My best friend at I laughed at this movie start to finish. Throughout the film, however, I could just imagine the critics complaining about how unrealistic it was – just like they complained about the Cosby Show and A Different World in the 80’s and 90’s. The same movie with a white cast, and the complaints, if there were to be any, would be based on something else. As I sat there with my best friend, both of us brown, from two parent households, who met in prep school – we didn’t see it as unrealistic at all. We were able to move right on past the setting to the good stuff.
My mom always corrected people when they called her Mrs. Greene. When I would complain about it to her (always from a safe distance), she would tell me that with all the years she spent in school, it was an insult to be called anything else. She earned the right to be called Doctor, and if she was a man, there’d be no questioning that fact, and no mistake made. Okay, I’ll give her that.
Craig Robinson plays Wade Walker, a very down to earth guy, who would be just as respectful of Judge Peeples, the family patriarch, if he was a janitor or a judge. In the movie, he fumbles over whether to call him “Mister”, “Judge” or “your Honor”, and that makes for some very tense moments… for me at least. I got a chance to sit down and talk to Mr. Robinson about the movie, and what experiences he brought to Peeples. I couldn’t wait to ask him what it was like for him to go to meet a young lady’s parents growing up. “Parents liked me because I was always polite. I played the piano.”
My dad wasn’t hard for our significant others to meet. He’s from Tobago, and carried that easy going vibe with him all the way to the states. He does, however, have jokes. My brother brought another girl to meet us all the way from Seattle to Atlanta (even he didn’t bring a girl home to our hometown – we always met him in the closest big city). He went out on the hotel balcony to talk to my mom, and my dad and I were in the room with the girl watching TV. The girl took off her shoes… what’d she do that for. My dad went in on them feet. Again – last time we saw her.
One of my favorite characters in the film was played by a favorite actor of mine, David Alan Grier. Seeing him older freaked me out a little, but after I got over the fact that In Living Color was twenty years ago, I was alright. He is still hilarious. His comedic timing was perfect as usual – and his face. He didn’t have to say much to get his laughs.
There were so many wonderful supporting actors in this film that you just expect to give you a certain level of entertainment. The ones that I wasn’t so sure about, oddly enough, were the ones cast as the stars. When asked what was the hardest part of doing this movie, Craig Robinson said, “having to pretend to be in love with Kerry Washington.” I thought that very thing was going to be the hard part of this review for me.
I already “love” Craig Robinson. I am not a huge fan of all his movies – just because there seems to be lots of boobs and cursing which isn’t really my thing. I wish I could have made it all the way through Hot Tub Time Machine – for his performance alone. I had a certain expectation of his “funny”. It was going to be that kind of funny that wasn’t physical necessarily – and really smart. Like if you want to really get the joke, I hope you read books, or are reasonably intelligent. Several times in the movie, I found myself thinking, “only 20% of this audience got even 90% of that joke.” Unlike a lot of people who were unsure if he could “carry” a whole movie, I honestly didn’t question his talent to keep me engaged for over an hour. His supporting appearances kept me several movies that I wouldn’t have made it through otherwise – I was totally ready for this, and his performance exceeded my expectations.
Now on to Kerry Washington. I love to watch Scandal. Not just for Kerry Washington, but for the story. That has been the problem with her for me in a lot of her films. I am like, “oh, Kerry Washington, is in this,” and then that’s that – back to the movie. I never really paid any attention to her other than another brown actress doing her job. In this movie, I saw her trying to surprise the audience, and give them a character to love, but she didn’t quite hit that. She got close, but S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler Williams, Melvin Van Peebles, and Diahann Carroll totally stole her shine. I couldn’t really connect with her character. Her character was necessary, and Kerry Washington did her job as usual, but she shrank next to a high S. Epatha Merkerson, and a sexually enlightened Diahann Carrol.
Oh, and I totally felt Tyler Williams character – I was the kid in my all white prep school with my X hat and Malcolm X t-shirt, with “Fear of a Black Planet” written in big letters on the back of my notebook followed by the lyrics. I was a militant black power chick for like six months.
If you are a regular reader of my reviews, you know the drill… Here’s what you want to know –
Did it earn the PG-13 rating? Yes. The themes are pretty mature. While I wouldn’t freak out if my 13 year old happened to see it, I definitely wouldn’t want to be there when he did. I never want to have to talk about stuff like sexual role play with my kids… ever.
Should you take the kids to see it? I would say 16 and over. Some people expose their kids to more earlier than I would. It’s not to say that my 13 year old doesn’t know about this stuff, but it would be uncomfortable for me to sit through it with him without having other conversations with him. Judging from how our most recent talk on STD’s went, let’s just say I’m choosing something else for movie night. I am all explained out for a while.
Bottom line, should you go see it? Oh yea – I highly recommend it, and I would see it again. Maybe not as many times as I have watched Office Space, but I’d watch it again so the hubby can see it. On top of that, I stayed awake. I RARELY stay awake through an entire movie. I didn’t sleep even once. Look, I homeschool 3 kids, work, drive kids to classes and sports, blog, and do a ton of other stuff – the lights are out, everyone is quiet, that’s a rare and beautiful moment in my life. If the movie isn’t phenomenal, I am taking those two hours to sleep in peace. No sleep here – I think we have a winner.
Peeples officially hits theaters on May 10th.
I was given press passes to Peeples. I was given no other compensation for writing this post. As always, my opinions are my own.