Review: 'Peeples' is light, refreshing comedy
Tyler Perry is credited as a producer on “Peeples,” but don't let that scare you away. Written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, “Peeples” is witty, charming and light, standing apart from the heavy-handed moralizing of so many of Perry's movies.
Chism finds new twists in a fairly standard premise. Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington) is reluctant to introduce her boyfriend to her father. Her beau, Wade (Craig Robinson), is a children's singer whose most popular song, “Speak It (Don't Leak It),” encourages kids to use the bathroom. Her father (David Alan Grier) isn't just judgmental, he actually is a federal judge.
The bulk of the story is set amid the upscale enclave of the Peeples family's summer home, creating something of a casual bourgeois fee. S. Epatha Merkerson as Grace's mother and Tyler James Williams as her teenage brother provide capable comedic support.
A sub-story involving Grace's sister (Kali Hawk) and her reluctance to come out to the family is handled in a way that feels pleasantly nonjudgmental on all sides.
When Melvin Van Peebles walks on as Grandpa Peeples, it is funny in many ways, as a pun on his own name, as a tweak of Perry-esque literalism, as well as a tip of the hat to an African-American independent filmmaker of an earlier generation. Van Peebles brings the perfect amount of grumpy gravitas.
Diahann Carroll as the family's grandmother matriarch is an equally smart piece of casting.
Washington, long a reliable presence too often asked to do a lot with too little material, has been on a tremendous recent career upswing thanks to TV's “Scandal” and “Django Unchained.” She handles the female lead here with her typical grace and ease. Robinson, best known for his role on “The Office,” makes for a convincing Everyman.
And a frisky scene involving an old schoolgirl uniform, knee socks and a ruler encapsulates the exuberant playfulness of the movie as well as Washington and Robinson's strong chemistry.
Perry deserves credit for using his resources to create space for another voice to be heard. These “Peeples” are people one should be happy to meet.
Mark Olsen is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Let It Snow’s’ big-name cast filming all over Western Pennsylvania
- Kickstarter funds would go toward great-niece’s film about Warhol
- Review: ‘Lazarus’ almost raises a whole film genre from the dead
- From ‘Pulp Fiction’ to Oscar meme, Travolta’s had his highs and lows
- ‘Me and Earl’ movie gets July release date
- Review: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ is bloody good mockumentary fun