Tyler Perry is just someone everyone loves to hate. At this point in his career, he has found a good deal of success financially and with audiences in his niche, with his Madea character being a staple for his success. Despite his success, most of his movies have turned out to be critical failures, with most people outside of the niche hating his films, mostly due to their poor comedy, over-the-top themes, and bad plotting. Just his name alone at this point gets people turning away, as he rarely makes successful films, and his latest, Temptation, was one of his worst received yet.
Despite the Perry hate by most, Perry isn’t terrible in my mind. He makes an effort trying to tell important stories, he just fails to put them together in a cohesive film, but now he is taking the back seat as just a producer in Peeples. Walking in despite the bad trailers, the movie didn’t look terrible to me. The movie had a likable cast, which is always solid groundwork for a good movie. Also, Perry sought out Tina Gordon Chism, who wrote the solid ATL, to direct her own script. Letting a smaller name get their big break is always great to see. Sadly, Peeples is part of the long line of Perry misfires.
Peeples follows Wade (Craig Robinson) who has a successful career, and a loving girlfriend, Grace. To be able to propose to Grace, Wade must journey to meet her family, the Peeples, which could be a tough task considering the closed-off father Virgil (David Alan Grier) and the rest of the antics of the Peeples family.
The cast here does a solid job. Craig Robinson is one of the more charismatic comedic actors today. Throughout his work in The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine, and now Peeples, he has shown his comedic promise. Here, Robinson is able to show off his talents in his first lead role. Just his mannerisms alone are able to create solid laughs, and he gives a great deal of conviction to his performance.
Playing off Robinson nicely is Kerry Washington. Washington also just has such a natural charm to her as well, and seeing both of them play off each other is good fun. Washington is one of the more versatile actresses, from solid dramas to films like this. She brings a great deal of life and vibrancy when she was on screen, which is much needed.
The rest of the supporting cast hold their own. Actors like David Alan Grier, S. Epartha Maerkerson, Tyler William James, and Kali Hawk all hold their own here, and do a fine job. It was also nice seeing William James, since the last time I remember anything he did was the underrated TV show Everybody Hates Chris.
The movie also has its fair share of good laughs. Tina Gordon Chism does some unique shots with the camera to create a couple vignettes that got a couple genuine laughs with me. Along with that, the actors pure conviction helps as well, as their dedication to go the extra step can get a laugh.
For a film-making perspective, there are many flaws. While Gordon Chism is able to create some nice moments, she really struggles here with her debut film. Chism fails to grab a hold of the film, as the movie feels like a ship without any real direction. Scenes just kind of happen, without any real build up to them or sense of chronological order. The first hour or so is just completely aimless, and then the final thirty minutes just throws in as much plot as possible.
Also doing a poor job here is alot of the behind the scenes team. Elements like editing ,which connects scenes in an awkward way, music, with a terrible 90’s sitcom vibe to it all, and cinematography, full of just empty shots that are useless to the the movie. With all of these simple mistakes, the whole film feels a bit amateur and bush-league, and you would expect better from a wide release film.
The script here, written by Chism, is pedestrian at best. The plotting here is just so generic and uninspired, that I am just surprised that Perry sought after her and her script. The film is basically another version of Meet the Parents, except far less funny or genuine.
The way characters and situations are dealt out in such a sitcom-like way is also a concern. Characters have issues or problems, and they all just conveniently get solved. The film’s message is basically don’t hide secrets as well as the importance of family, and both of those messages are poorly executed.
Worst of all, most of these people dont even feel like humans. Wade is just such a perfect guy without any flaw and everyone else around him has serious issues. The whole film doesn’t feel genuine due to this, as the people feel more like cartoon characters than actual people.
Most of this movie is just not funny. Aside from some fun vignettes, most the humor is surprisingly juvenile. With jokes ranging from pee jokes, to pot and mushrooms, the film has humor for a 12 year old rather than the older audience the film is trying to appeal to. Why this film goes for crass humor that is more suited for a Rated R film, and is rated PG-13 makes no sense to me what so ever.
Probably the worst of it all is just watching some of the cast in the film. Seeing the Craig Robinson have to do some of the ridiculous actions he has to do is embarrassing to watch, and made me nearly start to cover up my eyes.
The movie rides the four to five beer line closely, but there was never hate in my heart while watching, just disappointment. Peeples isn’t awful, but in the end feels like a gigantic waste of its talent and audiences’ time.
Do a Shot: whenever a character is on drugs
Take a Drink: whenever you see a generic plot point
Take a Drink: at all the terrible singing and dancing scenes in this movie.
Take a Drink: for Craig Robinson, the man has done some miserable things, he deserves a beer.