What a fitting title for a movie that is made entirely from off the shelf parts of lesser romantic comedies. You Again is the latest model of the standard Idiot Plot formula. It's filled with characters who are supposed to be successful adults, but constantly act like spoiled children. They scream, they fight, they scheme, and they tumble into and out of anything that could serve as a slapstick gag. What they don't do is provide a single laugh, have anything resembling an idea, or give us a reason as to why we should be watching this garbage.
The premise, like everything else about the movie, holds little interest. Marni (Kristen Bell) is a successful and beautiful P.R. woman for a big company. But eight years ago in high school, she was a pimple-faced misfit with big glasses. Her main tormentor in school was Joanna (Odette Yustman), the pretty and popular head cheerleader. Marni thinks she's gotten over the past, until she returns home for her brother's wedding, and finds out that he's marrying her former rival. Joanna does not seem to remember the past, but Marni's not buying it, and begins coming up with countless schemes to show her brother Will (James Wolk) just how evil his fiance truly is. Of course, this situation could be solved if the three sat down and discussed things like adults, but then the movie would be over in 10 minutes.
There's another plot concerning Marni's mother, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Joanna's Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver). Apparently, they were former friends-turned rivals in school as well, so they begin showing each other up in childish ways as well. It's always sad to see talented actors working below their ability, and the scene where Curtis and Weaver have an argument that ends in a forced gag with them both falling into a swimming pool together had me putting my face in my hands. You Again is so creatively bankrupt, it even casts Betty White as Marni's grandma, simply because Betty White is "in" right now. Never mind that the movie gives her little or nothing to do, and could have been filled by any elderly actress who could recite a zippy one-liner once in a while.
This is the kind of movie that mistakes sappy piano music on the soundtrack for emotion, and has never met a worn-out joke it didn't like. See that pot of soup in the background during the scene when Marni and Joanna are arguing? No prizes for guessing if it's going to be dumped on one of their heads before the scene is over. What about that tree house in the backyard? It's just asking for people to tumble repeatedly out of it over and over again! And when Aunt Ramona leaves her expensive dress hanging up in the bathroom, you just know that some implausible accident with the sink is going to occur to ruin it. This screenplay wasn't written, it was dug out of a dumpster.
Could this material have worked? Of course. Any premise can with the right approach. But director Andy Fickman doesn't trust our intelligence, and instead decides to insult it for 105 minutes straight. Any point it may be trying to make about the lasting effects bullying has on people is overshadowed by its need to cover every cliche in the book, including having the characters dancing together during the end credits at the big wedding party. Oops, did I give away the ending?...
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