While watching Peeples, Meet the Parents kept coming to mind. Initial comparisons in the back of your mind isn’t always a bad thing; they can go either way. A movie can be similar, and the thinking process compares and observes details. On the other hand, you can be thinking this is just a downgraded version – that’s never good. Peeples isn’t bad by any means. It has some moments and never had me checking my watch. The next day I actually saw Meet the Parents again (got a strong urge to watch after seeing this), it had been a while. Both have identical concepts, but the execution is different. Everything Peeples does, Meet the Parents does better. Overall, this is a Tyler Perry (he co-produced) version of that story. Might click for some, but for me it was flat.
Wade (Craig Robinson) has been dating Grace (Kerry Washington) for a while. It’s finally time to do something Wade has been looking forward to, meet her family. He is eager to please them because he’s planning on proposing to Grace. Wade is trying really hard to find that perfect moment and believes being acquainted with her family is extremely important. So, Wade decides to crash the family’s weekend stay in the Hamptons. Of course, whenever a flawless plan is come up with, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Virgil Peeples (David Alan Grier) (Grace’s dad) is a mean-spirited man, and sees Wade’s good natured but ill-timed attempts at bonding as a way to climb up the latter of likeability.
Telling a story that’s been told countless time doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be bad. This happens frequently. Lots of aspects can be changed to make it work. The story can have a couple of twists and turns to freshen things up or improve on a few weakness that are commonly done. If all that fails, it can be the same story, just slightly altered, and hope for the best. Peeples did the latter. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out so well. I can’t go as far to say Peeples went downhill. It was pretty much a boring carbon copy of something not that great in the first place. Tina Gordon Chism wrote and directed.
The direction was lacking. I kept wondering if anything would happen to snap me out of funk’s I would get in, but never did the plot deviate into an area that wasn’t expected. All the routine gags and situations are here. There not executed poorly, it just gets boring real fast. Certain scenes are charming, the problem is that they try to shove it being charming down your throat. This is a comedy, so drama is scarce. At times dramatic (we’re not talking super dramatic) elements come forth and have a bit of heart. I wish more drama was added, might have helped so the comedy was relied on so much.
The material doesn’t allow anyone to stand-out. So, the cast members are all along the lines of being good while not being able to praise any. Craig Robinson did the best job. He’s our main guy, so Robinson gets a lot of screen time. He, along with Kerry Washington (glad to see her in a comedy, she’s good in a comedic role, but rarely is in one), are the main saving grace. They are both likeable and provide the story with something. The rest of the actors fill their highly clichéd roles and are merely alright. David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler James Williams, and Melvin Van Peebles aren’t used for really anything, but still manage to do what they can when they can.
With everything going nowhere, the movie really needed to draw from something to get a boost. A great screenplay for example would have sufficed for that. Funny moments sprinkled often throughout is a good way stop the bleeding. You can be disconnected, but if the jokes work and come somewhat frequently, it helps a lot. Slap stick humor is mainly used as a crutch to unfunny movies, I was surprised none were included. Instead you have numerous set-pieces. Tina Gordon Chism wrote the charismatic film, Drumline (pretty solid), but none of that carried over to Peeples. If you want to re-visit this plot, go see Meet the Parents instead.