x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Powerless peeple

Peeples has its light moments and some energetic performances, but it is too generic a romcom to create a lasting impression.

Kerry Washington and Wade Walker in Peeples. Coutesy AP
Kerry Washington and Wade Walker in Peeples. Coutesy AP

Peeples
Director: Tina Gordon Chism
Starring: Craig Robinson, David Alan Grier, Kerry Washington
**

Tyler Perry produces this story of Wade (Craig Robinson), a love-struck boyfriend who wishes to propose to his girlfriend Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington), but can't do so until he meets her family and gains their approval.

Driven by love, he arrives unannounced at the family's annual get-together and chaos ensues. Can Wade convince her well-to-do father (David Alan Grier) that he's the right man for his daughter?

With a premise strikingly similar to the Ben Stiller comedy, Meet the Parents (a comparison that would not be favourable for this film), one word that aptly describes this knock-around comedy is "broad": in the treatment of its characters, in its humour, in its presentation of stereotypes (particularly Grier's stubborn patriarch). Interestingly, from a producer who, at times, is very keen on exploring the heart of modern relationships, nothing is delved into deeper than is necessary to get to the next gag. On the upside, just because the story isn't fresh, doesn't mean it isn't pleasant - a light and bouncy pace accompanied by a buoyant soundtrack means you're occasionally distracted from the silly nature of the film thanks to the cast's sheer energy.

Spearheading that energy is Robinson, who tones down his usual manic performance (as seen in Hot Tub Time Machine and This is the End) into something still madcap, but more sincere. It proves to be the most positive point of the film, as his casting gives his character an underdog appeal. Most of the support actors are window dressing; it's disappointing to see Kerry Washington follow a strong performance in Django Unchained with such an interchangeable appearance here as "the girlfriend". Grier has some nice moments as Robinson's antagonist, but again, the broadness of the humour prevents him from doing anything that grabs your attention significantly.

Overall, Peeples turns into a forgettable, generic romantic comedy from very early on. The energy and charm are certainly there, but Tyler Perry's name attached to the project hints at a subtext and depth that this film simply doesn't deliver.

artslife@thenational.ae

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