Sparks fly when Wade Walker crashes the Peeples annual reunion in the Hamptons to ask for their precious daughter Grace's hand in marriage.
Deja vu. That's really all I have to say after watching the Tyler Perry produced comedy 'Peeples.' Well, that's not all I have to say, but it pretty much sums up my less than enthusiastic feelings about the flick in the most succinct and tactful way possible. Nothing but a clichéd, generic retread of Jay Roach's 'Meet the Parents,' which was nothing but a remake of Greg Glienna's 'Meet the Parents,' which didn't exactly feature the most original premise to begin with -- the movie is simply dull and forgettable. The cast is likeable enough, but every comedic bit and plot point is so hackneyed, tired, and familiar that I generally thought that the flick had triggered a glitch in the Matrix.
The plot follows Greg (Ben Stiller) as he meets -- wait, sorry. Let's try that again. The plot follows Wade (Craig Robinson) as he meets his girlfriend's (Kerry Washington) family for the very first time during their annual family reunion. The Peeples clan, led by patriarch Virgil (David Alan Grier), greets the nervous man with suspicion, and Greg spends his entire visit awkwardly trying to win them over as a series of "comical" mishaps continue to get in the way. To make matters worse, he plans to finally propose, but as Virgil's disapproval grows, the couple's future is placed in doubt.
Taking this basic setup, the movie then... well, goes through a series of basic gags, broad jokes, and formulaic plot points. Much of the comedy stems from various misunderstandings that show Wade in a bad light as he inadvertently does everything wrong, or numerous revelations that expose the Peeples' secret eccentricities and quirks. To be fair, most of these attempts at humor are harmless, and a few are even worthy of a smile here and there –- but genuine laughter is in short supply. And that's a problem for a comedy, isn't it?
The cast is actually quite talented, and as the included commentary demonstrates, these performers really are capable of being funny. It's just a shame that the script is so dumb and generic. The characters are clichéd and thinly written, and awkward interactions all fall flat. Even worse, the movie's sense of humor is all over the place, leading to a few outlandish sequences (like a trippy musical performance) that are at odds with more grounded scenes. At its best, the flick becomes faintly amusing, but the execution is distressingly lifeless and lazy, like the studio just decided to copy an old script, cobble together an inexpensive (but solid) ensemble, slap Tyler Perry's name on the poster, and throw it at the screen.
When the most inspired part of a movie involves a song that teaches kids not to pee on things (so cleverly titled "Say it, Don't Spray it") you know that something is wrong. Very wrong. Trite and sadly unfunny, 'Peeples' is a well-meaning but unsuccessful attempt at comedy. At least, I assume it's well-meaning. Though, come to think of it, I may be making a terrible presumption there. After all, how could something this bad be well-meaning? Perhaps the cold hard truth that film goers have been ignoring for far too long has finally been exposed. Tyler Perry is nothing but a movie sadist -- a cruel manipulator who sits in his plush mansion, dressed in full Madea regalia as he gleefully laughs at our misfortune. Well, that, or he's just a terrible producer. It's one of those. Either way, this Deja vu inducing movie has little to no redeeming value. Except of course as further proof that we all live in a computer generated dream world created by evil robot overlords. Evil robot overlords who are apparently big Tyler Perry fans.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Lionsgate presents 'Peeples' in a Blu-ray/UltraViolet Combo Pack. A BD-25 disc comes housed in a keepcase along with instruction for a downloadable digital copy. After some skippable trailers, the screen transitions to a standard menu. The release is region A coded.
The movie is provided with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Pleasing yet far from standout, 'Peeples' looks pretty good, but not quite great.
Shot on film, the source is in pristine shape with a light layer of grain. The picture is on the soft side, but clarity is still decent, revealing solid detail and OK dimension (though many scenes are a tad flat). Colors are little dull but natural, and while there isn't much pop to the video, the image thankfully avoids the over saturation found on many similar contemporary comedies. Contrast is well balanced with even whites and steady black levels. There is what looks like some negligible shimmering in a few shots, but artifacts are essentially nonexistent.
Respectable but far from noteworthy, the film comes to Blu-ray with a solid transfer that serves the modest content well.
The film is presented with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track along with optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles. Modest but effective, the audio suits the story's silly tone just fine.
Dialogue is full, clear, and well prioritized throughout. The movie's sound design is basic but fitting, with appropriate directional effects for speech and other sounds. General street and nature ambiance adds a welcome sense of atmosphere to various locations and specific effects (a dog bark, for instance) hit the surrounds when called for. A sweat lodge hallucination scene is particularly fun, and features some trippy sound design that envelops the room. The movie is also home to a few musical numbers, and these sequences feature good separation, dynamics, and fidelity. Outside of the score and songs, bass activity is negligible, but that's to be expected for a comedy of this type.
Though not exactly demo worhty, the audio mix is well produced and free from any technical issues.
Lionsgate has put together a decent assortment of special features, including a surprisingly entertaining commentary with the cast and crew. All of the extras are presented in 1080p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and no subtitles.
'Peeples' is a distressingly familiar and lazy movie. The cast is talented, but they are given nothing worthwhile or particularly funny to do. On the technical front, this disc features a solid video and audio presentation. Supplements are also decent, including a surprisingly entertaining commentary that is funnier than the actual film (though, that is faint praise). Basically, people who like to laugh should go ahead and skip this disc. And people who don't like to laugh should try to get a job working for Tyler Perry. He'd probably hire you to write one of his comedies.