October 6, 2010

Movie Review: You Again

youagain1_largeFeel free to skip this movie, and I mean that sincerely. No matter how much you like any/all of the cast members there is not a lot to see here. It is a relationship comedy that does not feel real for a minute, it is populated with characters who do not seem to be a part of any reality. If that is not enough You Again feels terribly longer than its 104 minutes would have you believe.

I guess I am not even supposed to give this movie a chance to be liked, I mean it doesn't have any shoot outs or over the top action sequences (or does it...). I am sure some of you are wondering why I bothered with if while others realize how much stuff I see regardless of typical genre roles. In this case I recognized right off that it was not likely to be a good movie but there are a number of cast members that I like and it looked like everyone had fun making the movie.

You Again is a simple enough story, history will repeat itself, especially if it involves high school. Kristen Bell is Marni, she did not have a very happy high school life, she was at the bottom of the totem poll and was eternally tormented by JJ, played by Odette Yustman, the head cheerleader. Years later their paths cross again as JJ,now Joanna, is engaged to Marni's older brother. It is time for them to come to terms or allow the meltdown to continue.


By a cruel twist of fate, and to help take the plot to another level, Joanna's aunt (Sigourney Weaver) and Marni's mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) had a similar relationship when they were in high school. Now that the families are coming together for the wedding old wounds can be torn open, new problems begun, and with a little luck an understanding middle ground can be reached in time for the wedding.

With this movie playing everything to the middle you can rest assured that everything is going to be resolved one way or another. The problem is that when it came time for a resolution to be reached it feels forced as if they were just saying what they had to say in order to get to the credits.

What should have been a fun slapstick/screwball comedy became a comedy that seems to think higher of itself than it really should. When it should have been going all out with the silly it would get restrained and semi-serious about the characters seeking an emotional catharsis. It did not really work for me.


I do like the cast and they seemed to enjoy their roles and get into what the spirit of the movie should be, rather what I think it should be. With this story and this cast they should go for the laughs and hope the emotion follows, instead we get somewhat forced emotion that does not feel to be born from the narrative.

Kristen Bell and Odette Yustman play the adversary well. Yustman seems born to play this type of role and relishes her time onscreen, likewise Kristen Bell, who I have liked since Veronica Mars, has very good comic timing, screen presence, and no qualms about making herself look silly. Weaver and Curtis also get in on the fun and work well together.

I believe the idea behind the story is one worth exploring and in the hands of a stronger creative team could have transcended its cinematic lot. Instead it becomes mired in keeping the comic friction going at the expense of the interesting material.

Still, I think it is enjoyable enough to check out somewhere down the line, it is nothing you should feel the need to see right away. If you should even forger about it, no great loss.

Mildly Recommended.

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