Another week, another romantic comedy.
Presented by Tyler Perry, whose only apparent influence here is his checkbook, Peeples stars Craig Robinson as everyman Wade Walker. He’s just trying to find the right moment to propose to his live-in girlfriend Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington). Unfortunately that right moment never seems to come, especially as he deals with meeting the rest of the Peeples for the first time. Also starring, Tyler James Williams, Kali Hawk and David Alan Grier.
When Grace unknowingly disrupts Wade’s latest proposal plans by leaving to join her family for Moby Dick day, Wade takes matters into his own hands. On the advice of his brother (Malcolm Barrett), he shows up unannounced at the Peeple’s place in the Hamptons. From the moment he meets his Graces’ family, who didn’t exactly know he existed, things go downhill for our well-meaning hero.
Yes, you saw this movie already, in 2000 with Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. Not only is the premise strikingly similar to Meet the Parents, but some of the comedy beats are nearly identical – overhearing a sketchy conversation with the future father in-law at a grocery store? Check. Running into your girlfriend’s ex fiance you didn’t know about? Check.
Thankfully there are more differences to the Ben Stiller film than just a change of color scheme in the cast. While Greg ended up being wrong about half of what he thought he knew, and seemed to just make things worse and worse for himself, Wade is actually right about a good many amusing secrets and ends up something of a hero in the end, bringing peoples together (pun intended). There is also less gross out humor and some pretty clever jokes.
Tyler James Williams is one of the pleasant surprises of the film, being genuinely funny in his portrayal of Grace’s younger brother Simon who just wants a little gangsta street cred despite being a member of “the black Kennedys). The whole cast has a great chemistry, in fact, including cameos by Melvin Van Peebles and Diahann Carroll.
It’s not my typical style of comedy, but it ended up not being a painful experience either. While it’s not especially original, there’s not a whole lot that is technically wrong with it other than the fact that it has a very “been there, seen that,” feeling to it. Overall the audience seemed to really enjoy it, so if the trailer looks appealing to you, by all means check it out, but it’s not anywhere on my must see films of the Summer list.
My Rating: Two out of Five Hats
Mrs. Hamster did not attend this screening
Peeples opens in 2,000 theaters, May 10