Peeples will be people
Gail Choice | 5/8/2013, 5 p.m.
Every now and then we all deserve a good, cleansing laugh and I suggest that you go see "Peeples" and laugh yourself silly.
Tyler Perry presents "Peeples," starring Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington, David Alan Grier, S. Epatha Merkerson, Tyler Williams, Melvin Van Peebles and Diahann Carroll, and written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism.
Wade Walker, played by Craig Robinson (NBC's "The Office"), wants to tie the knot. Ring in hand, he's ready to propose to his lady love, Grace Peeples, played by Kerry Washington (ABC's "Scandal"). Only problem is Grace hasn't told her upper-crust family about the very intense relationship she is having with Wade, and when he's about to pop the question Grace takes off to be with her family for a very special community celebration of Moby Dick Day. Wade decides to surprise Grace at her family's homestead, and not only do things go haywire, but skeletons cascade from the closet, leaving no family member untouched.
David Alan Grier stars as the patriarch of the family. As Judge Virgil Peeples, Grier's character prides himself on raising a family of high-achievers who maintain a certain standard of living that causes them all to be hypocrites, hiding lifestyles that their father would find despicable. Mind you, the judge is no saint. The judge does not approve of Wade Walker, and is not afraid to show it.
Wade is a happy-go-lucky guy who writes and performs children's songs, while Grace is a lawyer. One wonders how the two got together in the first place, but when you learn about Grace's background, you learn she is clearly running away from men who even remotely seem like her father.
Wade's brother, Chris Walker, played by Malcolm Barrett, also decides to join the weekend festivities uninvited. Chris fancies himself a doctor, and he is of sorts--he works at a doll store fixing broken dolls.
He takes a liking to Graces' beautiful sister, Gloria, played by Kali Hawk, but there is a catch. Chris doesn't let it stop him for pursuing her.
It is great to see S. Epatha Merkerson (NBC's "Law & Order") in a comedic role as the uptight, alcoholic wife of Judge Peeples. She's a wonderful singer and she gets to sing and dance throughout the film, a very different role for an actress generally seen as non-comedic.
Perhaps one of the most pleasant surprises is seeing legendary actress Diahann Carroll as the oh-so-savvy grandmother, and the very cool and legendary Melvin Van Peebles as the grandfather. They both had outrageous and funny moments in the film, and cast members all agreed it was an honor to work with both of them.
This movie is chock full of unexpected funny moments, and these master comedians know how to deliver the simplest lines for big laughs. "Peeples" is rich in comedic moments that come at you lightning fast.
Chism's fresh take on comedy is fun and unexpected. Although this is her directorial debut, she's scripted such popular films as "Drumline," and "ATL." "Peeples," however, introduces audiences to a brand of humor that places an African American family in humorous situations that are unique and even outrageous.
It was Chism's idea to ask legendary talents Carroll and Van Peebles to lend their talents to the film. It was her way of paying tribute to two outstanding Hollywood pioneers.
"Peeples" is in theaters Friday; get your laugh on.
Gail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.