Review: You Again full of obvious gags

Review: You Again full of obvious gags

Source: AssociatedPress

By: Christy Lemire

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 24 September 2010

Movie Title

Review: You Again full of obvious gags


Andy Fickman

Star Cast

Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Victor Garber, Billy Unger, Jimmy Wolk, Kyle Bornheimer, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis

Really, the women of You Again should just get over it.

They should move on from the resentments, jealousies and grudges they've held onto since high school and embrace the people they've become today ? even if what they've developed into are stock characters in a lame, PG-rated comedy.

Instead, they try and tear each other apart in the most crass, slapsticky manner possible. Sure, it's only a movie, and so any sense of indignation in watching it is probably misplaced. But You Again unfortunately perpetuates all the worst cliches about women being insecure, petty, spiteful, competitive and cruel, and it does it in the name of comedy ? which is a problem, because it's pretty much never funny. What's truly disheartening: It was written by a woman, Moe Jelline, with her first produced screenplay.

If only the characters had used their brains to cook up revenge against each other for ancient slights, that might have seemed more tolerable. Here, if there's a stack of plates, you know they're going to get thrown. If there's a vat of soup, it's getting dumped on someone's head. If there's a pool nearby, you know they're going to drag each other into it (in evening gowns, naturally).

You Again is that kind of movie. Director Andy Fickman (She's the Man) telegraphs his jokes and sight gags from a mile away, with plenty of jaunty music to accompany the antics; later on, generically heartwarming music will swell as the characters reconcile. Come to think of it, there are no surprises to be had here at all. Characters have well-timed epiphanies and changes of heart. A wedding that appears to be in danger will, of course, go off without a hitch (even though it's whipped up last-minute in a hospital, it's still impossibly dazzling).

The actresses do give it their all, though, and a few moments between Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis make you long for a smarter, more substantial film.

You Again begins in 2002, with uber-nerd Marni Olivia Olsen (Kristen Bell) ? that's right, her initials are MOO ? looking into the camera and describing how awful high school is. She's constantly tormented by uber-mean girl Joanna (Odette Yustman), the gorgeous head cheerleader. But that bullying makes her stronger, and eventually she ditches the glasses, pimples and stringy hair and looks like ... Kristen Bell.

Now, Marni's a rising public relations executive. But as she heads back to her small town in Northern California for her brother's wedding, she realizes at the last minute who the bride is: Joanna. How this discovery never took place prior to a phone call on the airplane en route back home is totally implausible, but whatever.

Joanna is now the picture of compassion and kindness, working as a nurse and helping the poor. And somehow, she doesn't remember Marni. But she's got the rest of the family wowed: mom Gail (Curtis), dad Mark (Victor Garber) and younger brother Ben (Billy Unger). Of course the groom, older brother Will (Jimmy Wolk), is smitten, and even though they all went to high school together, somehow he doesn't recall that Joanna terrorized the place in general and his younger sister in particular.

Here's the other coincidence: As these two families come together, it turns out that Joanna's aunt Ramona (Weaver) just happens to be Gail's old best friend from high school. The two had an ugly falling out over 30 years ago; now Ramona is an international hotel mogul, while Gail has raised a family.

Weaver's superior, jet-setting breeziness provides a few laughs. The other source of humor: an oddball performance by Kyle Bornheimer as one of Joanna's exes, who's still fixated on her. With his awkward presence and uncomfortable clinginess, Bornheimer brings an air of unpredictability that's otherwise lacking in You Again, a movie that's so obvious, even the presence of Betty White feels like yet another hackneyed gag.

You Again, a Touchstone Pictures release, is rated PG for brief mild language and rude behavior.

Running time: 105 minutes

Rating: One and a half stars out of four

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