“Peeples:” Been there, done that

What do you get when you subtract humor from Meet the Parents?  You get Peeples.  In this formulaic “fish out of water” tale, Wade Walker (Craig Robinson) surprises his girlfriend Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington) by showing up to propose at a family function to which he was not invited and from which he was specifically excluded by Grace.  This is the point in the movie where the hilarity is supposed to commence, but, sadly, it does not.  It’s hard to narrow down what makes this movie so unfunny, but here a few suggestions. 

Let’s start with the story; been there, done that.  If you’re going to use a formula plot, at least make the story line different from the other popular “boy meets potential father-in-law for the first time” movies.  Peeples told a similar story to Meet the Parents and Guess Who, using the same jokes and awkward situations, only with less success than the former.

Additionally, what made the others succeed where Peeples fails is the chemistry between the protagonist and the antagonist.  Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier, much to my chagrin, had no screen chemistry at all.  Typically, there is a comedic timing between the actors which creates a humorous tension between their respective characters.  This aspect of the relationship was sorely missing.

Not only was the story and acting mediocre, but the sound editing was terrible.  A good rule of thumb for sound is, if you don’t notice it, it’s good.  In Peeples however, it was impossible not to notice the sound.  There were several instances where the characters voices faded out even though their visual image was still fully in the shot.  And in the scenes with music, it looked as though the sound was obviously added during post production.

All in all, Peeples was a tremendous disappointment. While there were a few funny jokes and tender moments, they were unable to make up for the other profoundly missing elements.

1.5 of 5 Stars