peeples

Even if it is a little like Meet the Parents, Peeples is still pretty darn entertaining and blessed by King Tyler Perry’s Midas touch.

Meet patriarch Virgil Peeples (David Alan Grier), a federal judge who runs his immaculate house with precision and accepts nothing less than perfection from his progeny, including daughter Gloria (Kali Hawk), a TV news anchor; teenage Simon (Tyler James Williams), a technical genius; and Virgil’s favorite, eldest daughter Grace (Kerry Washington), a brilliant lawyer. Of course, no man is good enough for his precious Grace. That’s why she can’t bring herself to tell Virgil, or her family, that she is living with Wade Walker (Craig Robinson), a singer/songwriter who counsels elementary school kids about using their words rather than peeing on things.

I guess you can see why Grace would rather Wade just stay home in Manhattan, while she goes to the Hamptons for the family Peeples’ annual Moby Dick Day celebration. Wade has other ideas, though, including finding the best moment to propose, and decides to surprise Grace by showing up at her family home in Sag Harbor anyway. Much to HIS surprise, Wade realizes no one knows about him and so begins the messy, chaotic and, at times, hilarious meet and greet with the Peeples, as Wade tries to win Virgil over and ask for his daughter’s hand. Soon, however, Wade uncovers that the “perfect” family is not without its own foibles and deep-seated secrets.

As the executive producer, Tyler Perry nurtured writer Tina Gordon Chism (Drumline, ATL) and helped her take the directing reins for the first time, even though she hadn’t really proven herself adept at comedy. Luckily for her, she cast Peeples to a tee, eliminating three quarters of the battle. We all know how funny Robinson can be. Not only has he gained the most fame on The Office, he is also part of Seth Rogen’s gang, including starring in the upcoming This Is the End, so giving him the lead role in such a comedy like Peeples seems like a no brainer. Then pairing him up with David Alan Grier… stroke of genius. Grier is just a master and doesn’t get as much of a chance to display his comedic talents like he does in the film. All Chism really has to do is turn on the camera and let Robinson and Grier go on and on and on.

Washington, who hasn’t done much comedy at all, does a nice job as the straight man to Robinson’s antics, but also gets a few bright spots of her own. Another standout is S. Epatha Merkerson, a TV veteran whose known for portraying judges and tough police lieutenants. In Peeples, she plays Mama Peeples, a free spirit who knows how to handle her stern husband and the only one who takes an immediate shine to Wade. There’s also funnyman Malcolm Barrett playing Wade’s freewheeling brother who also crashes the Peeples party. He’s one to watch for.

Chism’s true talents come in the writing. Moby Dick Day? Come on, that’s hysterical. That concept alone could have been an entire movie, but the treatment it gets in Peeples is sufficient enough, as Virgil dresses as Captain Ahab and recites from Herman Melville’s literary sea opus. Granted, you can see all the beats in Peeples coming a mile away, but it is still enjoyable nonetheless and will most likely evoke a chortle here and there. The great thing for Chism is that her film has Perry’s name behind, while could mean big box office bucks. Let’s see if I’m right.