Magic fills the air when you start dating someone, both of you immersed in the euphoria of getting to know each other and forming a deep connection. They say that during this stage, commonly known as the “honeymoon phase,” everything is seen through rose-colored glasses, with nothing able to come between you… until that particular moment when you meet your partner’s family. This situation can send chills down the spine of even the bravest, especially if there are cultural, racial, religious, or socio-economic differences involved. Countless movies have explored this theme across various genres, from drama to comedy and even horror. In the case of “Ustedes” – the highly anticipated Netflix film for this weekend – we delve into this topic once again, with a comedic twist on the surface, but with a deeper attempt to offer timely social commentary.
A Modern Love Story
In this film, written and directed by Kenya Barris in collaboration with actor Jonah Hill, we follow a newly formed couple, one Jewish and the other Muslim, as they navigate the complexities of modern love amidst cultural clashes, social expectations, and generational differences. The cast includes Hill, Lauren London, Eddie Murphy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Duchovny, Nia Long, and Sam Jay.
Mixed Reviews and Missed Potential
Despite the star-studded cast, “Ustedes” is a clear example of wasted potential. The film fails to fully deliver its muddled and outdated message. According to reviews, “Ustedes” feels more like a tedious two-hour lecture than a comedy, treating its characters as shallow archetypes who have nothing substantial to say about racism. While experts appreciate the film’s attempt to explore how love can break cultural barriers and generational stereotypes, the cringe-worthy dialogue and quickly fading humor dampen its good intentions. A deeper analysis reveals that the first half of the film is promising, addressing topics that others shy away from with clever wit. However, after 80 minutes of solid material, the narrative runs out of ideas and repeats the same themes with diminishing returns. It loses its balance by not allowing its comedy to speak for itself, as if fearing that the audience won’t grasp the underlying message.
A Glimmer of Hope
On the other hand, critics describe Barris’ direction as “elegant at times,” skillfully blending serious social issues with dark humor while still maintaining an emotional touch. The film boasts an incredible ensemble cast, with characters portrayed through exaggerated yet appealing depictions. The performances skillfully balance silliness with sincerity. However, just as the film is about to step forward, it takes two steps back due to its heavy-handedness and consistently didactic approach, underestimating the audience’s intelligence.
A Disappointing Offer
In the end, “Ustedes” – despite its promising setup and sharply amusing introductory sequences – falls short of expectations. Good intentions do not automatically make a film great, and without an accessible tone, this project squanders both its talented cast and its potential for something greater.
Below is a compilation of reviews and critiques of “Ustedes”:
- “Patrice Whiterspoon” – Screen Rant:
- “Steve Erickson” – Gay city News:
- “Todd Jorgenson” – Cinemalogue:
- “Ronda Rocha Penrice” – The Wrap:
- “Rene Rodriguez” – Variety:
- “Richard Roeper” – Chicago Sun-Times:
- “Redacción” – Josh at the movies:
- “Rodrigo Perez” – The Playlist:
- “Sheri Linden” – The Hollywood Reporter:
- “Pete Hammond” – Deadline:
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