The people of “Peeples” make a better impression than most collections of oddballs in the weary mold of comedies centered on meeting the prospective in-laws.
They still overstay their welcome, though.
With a long, boring buildup that finally pays off with scattered laughs in the second half, “Peeples” also manages to leave a better impression than the “Tyler Perry Presents” tag on the posters might imply. This is broad comedy, but nowhere near as broad — or boorish and shrill — as producer Perry's own family adventures (for disclosure's sake, there are screechy relations here, but Perry's Madea fortunately isn't among them).
Craig Robinson moves up from caustic supporting player on “The Office” to show himself an engaging romantic lead in the chubby, lovable, gregarious Jack Black school, while Kerry Washington lightens up from heavier drama as the love of his life, a daddy's girl whose daddy, naturally, doesn't approve.
Screenwriter and first-time director Tina Gordon Chism (her previous scripts include “Drumline”) crafts a predictable “Meet the Parents” riff, though she fills it out with a pleasant supporting cast of kooks who, while not always interesting, at least are not off-putting.
Robinson's Wade Walker is a children's entertainer who somehow landed gorgeous, career-driven United Nations lawyer Grace Peeples (Washington). They've been together for a year, yet Grace hasn't introduced Wade to her well-to-do family (the “chocolate Kennedys,” Wade calls them, staring at a photo of the Peeples clan looking rich and beautiful).
After Grace ducks out for an annual gathering at the family's Long Island vacation home, Wade decides to force the issue, crashing the party intending to propose to Grace over the weekend, in the bosom of her family. Yeah, that's a plan that's sure to work out well for him.
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