First off, I find it to be interesting that everyone is panning this movie. Basically, for a couple years now, people have been pushing more female and minority leads, and, it’s sort of inevitable that if they’re churning them out, you’re going to have a bunch of bad ones. This is the case with anyone.
Second, I have a bit of a quibble with the assertion that the plotline is “a little racist.” I get that it plays into the idea that Colombia is full of drug lords — but, I also get that nearly every broad comedy has to have an antagonist, and that someone is going to have to be that antagonist. Yeah, it’s low humor, but low humor is a pretty big staple of humor. I’m not sure how you continue to have broad, low comedy if everyone but white men are off limits to these roles.
I’ll give an example (and, no, I’m not trying to make a point about reverse racism, I’m trying to make a point about comedy). Nearly every comedy relies on stereotypical others. I’ll give three examples about white people. In The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, they’re pretty much lampooning white people based on stereotypes. All the white people (and, Carlton, who is constantly being made fun of for acting too white) are basically preppy nerds who wear sweaters around their necks and need Will to show them how to be cool. Geoffrey is a black, English butler who wears a coat and tails to work every day. I can virtually guarantee you there are no English butlers who do this in L.A.
Two more recent examples — Blackish and Insecure. In Blackish, the three main white characters (his co-workers) are basically stereotypes. There’s the cool, down white guy, the deuschy white guy who tries too hard, and the stodgy Corporate boss. Again, these are all basically stereotypes/projections of the main characters. In Insecure, all her co-workers are basically clueless stand-ins for “white feminist” tropes — women who ignorantly try to help poor black people. I know plenty of white feminists, and the things they say and do on that show describe exactly none of them.
To give an example from this article — Legally Blonde (which I love). I live in Cambridge, MA, so I happen to know plenty of people who go to Harvard, and have met people who go to Harvard Law. Again, they are not the snobby blue-blood stereotypes that are portrayed in the movie.
Plenty of comedians (Chris Rock, Seinfeld, even Aziz Ansari on the current episode of the B.S. podcast. Even Amy Schumer has talked about how difficult it is to do comedy without offending anyone) have talked about how stifling these attitudes are. These are hardly bigots.
These aren’t documentaries about South America. Personally, I don’t take their portrayal of Colombia any more seriously than I do the portrayal of the Bayou in the Waterboy.
Again, I get the argument, I just seriously question the wisdom of trying to make stereotypes in comedy off-limits to the extent that this indicates.