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You Again

2010-11-08 09:06
You Again
What it's about:

Marni (Kristen Bell) a successful PR agent living in New York returns home for the wedding of her older brother. When she discovers that her prospective sister-in-law, Joanna (Odette Yustman), is also the girl who terrorised her in high school, she sets about trying to expose Joanne's true colours before the wedding.

What we thought:

There is every reason to be very interested in You Again. It stars a powerhouse of female talent from across three generations, and two of these women in particular, are enjoying a career resurgence that's been rather hard to ignore, even if you tried.

The first is 88-year-old Betty White, ubiquitous over the last year with her new TV sitcom, a much-buzzed about hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, and the growing legend that she is the coolest geriatric in the world. You Again plays up the idea of the dotty grandmother who says the most inappropriate things and shamelessly flirts with a guy 50 years her junior. Even her name, Grandma Bunny, is designed to raise awkward guffaws.

The other actress of note is Sigourney Weaver, who sashays onto the scene as Ramona, the glamorous aunt of the bride. And, oh boy, does she look good. So good that she just about blinds all who look upon her, especially Marni's mother Gail, played with considerable spunk by Jamie Lee Curtis. As it turns out, Marni and Joanna's high school feud is just a bit of history repeating itself since Ramona and Gail were once best friends who ended up hating each other.

Like a less bitchy Gossip Girl, You Again purports that no matter how much we've grown up, we can never quite escape the trivialities of our high school hang-ups. In flashbacks we learn of the bad blood between Marni – who was a bespectacled, spotty nerd back then – and popular cheerleader Joanna, or JayJay as she was known. As a teen bitch, JayJay is no match for Mean Girls' Regina George or Darla from Dazed and Confused. The extent of her crimes appear to be breaking out into Queen's "We Are the Champions" whenever Marni is around, and occasionally shoving her into the nearest rubbish bin. Hmmm, not quite the "living hell" Marni keeps referring to.

Worsening her plight is the fact that Joanne seems to have gone through a magical personality transformation in the intervening years. She radiates light and kindness where once there was an evil smirk and, er, a really bad singing voice? The movie makes a strained attempt to revert Marni back to her high school looks by contriving ways in which she would be required to wear braces and spectacles while her skin breaks out into angry red spots. But will JayJay's old self be revealed before she becomes Marni's sister-in-law?

By hook or by crook, You Again will have these women at each other's throats again, with all the requisite hair-pulling and nonsensical shrieking that comes with petty catfights. It's all rather tiring. The older ladies have far more fun hashing out their decades-old issues again. It's all nice manners and cordial chats until Gail and Ramona arrive at the rehearsal dinner wearing the same dress and the skeletons come tumbling out of the closet. It's delicious fun to watch these grand dames of cinema let their hair down and get nasty. Weaver and Curtis hold nothing back and their physical comedy is the sole source of pleasure to be had from this corny comedy.

There's a nice cameo from Kristen Chenoweth as the über-cheery wedding planner, and everyone else not included on the promotional poster has precious little to do other than be exasperated by the women's competitive nature.

Ultimately, You Again is just a messy farce – a chick flick on very dodgy uppers – and has no idea when to quit. When it does reach its utterly ridiculous conclusion, it's a mild relief.

The cast is great, but they aren't treated very well in this chick flick on very dodgy drugs.

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