A talented cast struggles to make poor material shine in “Peeples”.
Unfortunately, this script isn’t even worthy of a sit-com episode.
Wade Walker (Craig Robinson) is preparing to propose to his girlfriend Grace (Kerry Washington). There’s something bothering him, however… he’s never met her family. So when she heads to the family’s summer home in the Hamptons for the weekend, he follows, showing up un-announced.
Wade immediately realizes that Grace has never even told her family about him, and it doesn’t take long for him to discover why. Mr. Peeples (David Alan Grier), her father, is a strict, domineering, hyper-critical patriarch who rules the family with a stern demeanor. He’s also a retired Federal Judge. Wade, who makes his living playing educational music to children, can’t hope to measure up. Further, he makes mistake after mistake, unintentionally driving Mr. Peeples crazy.
Of course, the Peeple’s family is not as tight a ship as the father thinks it is. In addition to his daughter dating Wade, his wife (S. Epatha Merkerson) has issues with drugs, his other daughter is gay, and his son is stealing from the rest of the family. So Wade, who is struggling not to make a fool of himself as it is, is also confronted with being put in uncomfortable situations and having to keep family secrets.
Will he be able to impress Grace’s father and propose? Or will he unbalance the Peeple’s family forever?
Craig Robinson is a very talented, funny individual, and a lot of that shines through here. Along with the rest of the cast, they do their best to pull occasional moments of mirth out of a terrible, terrible script. Writer/Director Tina Gordon Chism has crafted a completely unbelievable situation, featuring laughable (not in the good way) characters. David Alan Grier’s father character is the kind of dictatorial, clueless stiff that you only find in bad movies. He smothers his family, yet everyone falls all over themselves to please him, and freaks out if anything is done to upset him. Not that the jokes/gags/laughs what have you were good, but even if they were, I would still have problems getting past this silly set up.
And the jokes weren’t good. There were a lot of “Ooops, I wish I hadn’t seen that” situations, and a lot of Craig Robinson’s character putting his foot in his mouth or watching his well-intentioned actions turn into some kind of unforseen disaster. Most of it falls flat or feels lame to begin with, and there’s no “big laughs” to be had at all.
As mentioned earlier, the cast does their best with what they’re given, though, and occasionally manage to pull out a few chuckles along the way. Their talent and efforts manage to save this movie from complete failure.