Eddie Murphy Explains Why 48 Hours Still Works After 40 Years, And Compares It To The Humor In Netflix's You People

There’s a new comedy opening up that has Eddie Murphy teaming up with a Caucasian co-star to mine adult comedy out of racial tensions and social stereotypes. Oddly enough, it sounds very similar to the place where Murphy started his film career. The movie in question is You People, in which Jonah Hill plays a guy who is trying to impress his potential father-in-law, played by Murphy. It’s one part Meet The Parents, one part Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and very funny. Stream it this weekend if you have a Netflix subscription. Because I’m old, though, I remember when Murphy was the younger character trying to get along with an older co-star named Nick Nolte in the groundbreaking buddy cop comedy 48 Hrs. And when I brought it up to Murphy, he told me why that seminal film still has legs to this day. 

Remarkable as this is to think, the 1982 movie 48 Hrs. turned 40 years old last year. And 40 years later, Eddie Murphy is still figuring out what is funny about race relations in America. Murphy often hones this material in his standup, and has been exploring it in some of his best films, from Coming to America to Trading Places. But it started with 48 Hrs., when Nick Nolte’s gruff cop springs Murphy’s touch-talking convict from prison to help him catch another crook. Murphy said that movie still remains relevant to this day, explaining to CinemaBlend in an exclusive interview:

The movie’s still on today. It’s on, and it plays, and new audiences find it all of the time. The movie is ‘new’ forever, because there’s always going to be some new generation to discover it.

Audiences who discover Eddie Murphy through any one of his classic hilarious characters eventually will trace their way back to Reggie Hammond, the standout star of 48 Hrs. who pushed the boundaries of what was attempted in a mainstream studio comedy. Murphy was fearless at the time of filming that movie, and his approach to jokes established a tone that he’d ride for a decade. Enjoy the trailer for that movie, which captures some of its best laughs.

Murphy went on to connect 48 Hrs. to You People, explaining what makes the new Netflix movie stand out. He told us:

This picture is cool for a romantic comedy. Most romantic comedies don’t have this race conversation going on. Racial tension and edginess to it. It couldn’t be more timely. Racial tension is at a fever pitch in the country, and to do a movie like this right in the middle of it that’s a comedy? That’s just really hip and funny and smart.

In a way, both movies show Eddie Murphy’s willingness to embrace a subject that some might consider taboo, and turn it into a form of entertainment that also makes you think. In You People, Murphy and Jonah Hill have to resolve their differences if Hill’s pending relationship with Lauren London’s character has any chance at success. Also, Murphy doesn’t have to feel like he’s about to die when filming a comedy, and that’s a good thing. 

You People is the latest in a long line of movies that are arriving on Netflix in 2023, and many of those films boast some of the biggest celebrities working in the industry at this moment. Which ones are you most looking forward to? And do you plan to head to Netflix (opens in new tab) and start watching one of them right now?   

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.