- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Walt Disney
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
he only thing that Kristen Bell should be asking for this Christmas is a new agent, because the one she currently has working for her is clearly out to ruin her career. That’s the only explanation for her appearance in such dreck as “You Again,” the actress’ second comedy to be released under the Touchstone banner this year, and one that might even be more disastrous than “When in Rome.” Although she’s proven herself numerous times with memorable roles in TV shows like “Veronica Mars,” “Heroes” and “Party Down,” the pint-sized actress has yet to find any success in the movie industry. But Bell is just one of many talented actors making a fool of herself in “You Again,” and though words can’t describe just how bad the film is at times, it won't stop me from trying.
Bell stars as Marni, a successful public relations rep who’s still haunted by her teenage years when she was bullied for being the ugly duckling of her high school. Though she’s convinced that horrible chapter of her life is finally behind her, Marni returns home for her older brother’s wedding to discover that his fiancé, Joanne (Odette Yustman), is the bitchy head cheerleader who used to terrorize her every day. Joanne doesn’t seem to remember any of it – or at least, that’s what she wants Marni to think – and to further complicate things, her aunt Mona (Sigourney Weaver) used to be best friends with Marni’s mother, Gail (Jaime Lee Curtis), back in high school before they had their own falling out. But Marni doesn’t buy into Joanne’s new humanitarian act, and in order to protect her brother, she plans to expose his wife-to-be for the monster she really is.
Though it definitely had potential, “You Again” is so lazily written that its wafer-thin premise falls apart at even the slightest bit of scrutiny. For instance, we’re led to believe that Marni is part of a close-knit family, and yet her own mother doesn’t even know about the girl who made her life a living hell? Or how about the fact that she’s never once met her brother’s fiancé before the wedding? Or that the one picture sent to her of the couple just happens to be of them wearing masquerade masks? It’s all pretty unlikely – about as much as Mona and Gail being BFFs – but it would be easy to overlook the ridiculous, all-too-convenient plot if the movie was actually funny. Unfortunately, it's not.
The film strikes a slapstick tone that never quite catches on, and it’s embarrassing for just about everyone involved – particularly the four leads, who are forced to act like petty, self-centered teens while somehow still appealing to female audiences. Bell is much better when she’s playing against type than as a clumsy dork, Curtis subjects herself to some of the dumbest gags in the film, and Weaver is hardly given enough to do to warrant her participation. Not even Betty White earns a single laugh, although that has as much to do with her recent overexposure as it does with the fact that she’s playing the same dirty old grandma character that has dominated her latest career resurgence.
While speaking with a fellow critic beforehand, I noted how White and Cloris Leachman seemed to be the only two actresses in Hollywood who are cast in these lewd grandmother roles. So when White’s character comes face-to-face with her own high school nemesis in the film’s closing minutes, who should appear but Leachman, more or less confirming just how lazy and unimaginative the movie is. Andy Fickman has made some pretty bad films in his career, but "You Again" ranks among his worst, if only because he managed to drag some great actresses down with him in the process.
Two-Disc Blu-ray Review:
Disney didn’t put a whole lot of effort into the Blu-ray release of “You Again,” but it’s hard to blame them. For the few people who care, you’ll find 20 minutes of deleted scenes, a short featurette on director Andy Fickman’s on-set antics, and a blooper reel that's funnier than the actual movie. There’s also a brief Q&A session with Kristen Bell, Betty White, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver, a Funny or Die video, and a DVD copy.