Meet the Peeples

From left: Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, and David Alan Grier in the comedy “Peeples.”
From left: Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson, and David Alan Grier in the comedy “Peeples.”Nicole Rivelli/Lionsgate

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Melvin Van Peebles, director and star of the X-rated, revolutionary 1971 black comedy “Sweet Sweetback’s Baaadasssss Song” makes an appearance in a minor role in Tina Gordon Chism’s plucky, entertaining debut, “Peeples.” His presence serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come over the past five decades in terms of racial progress on the screen. Let’s see, there’s the money-making Tyler Perry (also a producer of this film), the Oscar-winning Denzel Washington, the ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson, the rarely glimpsed Spike Lee, and . . .

OK, so it’s not very encouraging. On the other hand, though “Peeples” gets off to a hobbling start, wraps up with the usual bromides, and is pretty much anodyne throughout, it’s still a lot funnier than “The Big Wedding.”

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