Saturday, 24 June 2017

Movie Review: You Again (2010)


A bland retribution comedy, You Again has neither laughs nor romance, and proceeds to waste a good cast.

In her high school years Marni (Kristen Bell) was an outcast ugly duckling, regularly and mercilessly bullied by J-J (Odette Yustman), the coolest cheerleader at the school. Six years later, Marni has moved to Los Angeles and blossomed into a confident public relations executive. Marni returns home to the house of her parents Gail and Mark (Jamie Lee Curtis and Victor Garber) to attend the wedding of her brother Will (James Wolk), and is shocked to discover that Will's fiancée is none other than J-J, who now goes by Joanna.

Joanna pretends to not remember Marni at all, and presents herself as a kind-hearted family-oriented charitable do-gooder. The situation gets more complex when Joanna's aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) arrives ahead of the wedding, as Gail and Ramona were best frenemies during their high school years. Ramona is now a high powered owner of a luxury hotel chain, while Gail, who was the most popular girl in school, has settled for domestic bliss. In the face of Joanna's charm assault Marni feels belittled and starts to regress into her high school victim persona, and decides to do all she can to unmask Joanna's true character and disrupt her brother's wedding day.

Directed by Andy Fickman, You Again has a couple of good ideas but does not do much with them. The long shadows cast by high school experiences should be a rich environment for both comedy and personal growth, and Marni wilting under the pressure of being back home and playing second fiddle to Joanna is an interesting enough set-up. But Fickman and screenwriter Moe Jelline default fairly quickly to witless juvenile antics and childish execution.

The script is nowhere near sharp enough to overcome the characters' wide-eyed cluelessness, and the film is caught in no man's land where outlandish actions are devoid of any sense of irony or satire. The dull lowlights include physical altercations, dishes being thrown, food dumped on heads and people pushed into swimming pools, the latter prosaic climax telegraphed in bold letters.

The cast has too much talent for the material. Kristen Bell is game and commits herself to the role, but cannot pull the film out of the doldrums. Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis enjoy a few dueling moments but then succumb to the tedious surroundings.

You Again flickers with some promise but is extinguished by listless delivery.






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