Kristen Bell had better look out. Her career started with such promise –
between Veronica Mars and Forgetting Sarah Marshall she looked
like a smart, beautiful and funny talent on the rise.
However, now she is following up the nearly unbearable romantic “comedies”
When in Rome and
Couple's Retreat with an even worse one and suddenly Bell’s name on a movie
poster seems more like a warning than an invitation.
You Again goes
stunningly wrong – and honestly it is hard to tell why. There is an
extremely talented cast and a marginally clever premise – how did it all go
so far awry?
isn’t a good thing that the movie that You Again reminded me most of
was another recent Disney failure – Old Dogs with John Travolta and
Robin Williams. With the talented actors – and there is a very good cast
including Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver and Betty White – saddled with
some of the worst lines in their long careers, you almost feel sorry for
everyone involved. In fairness, You Again IS better that that
astounding failure – but not by all that much.
Dogs’ sheen of flop sweat, though. All the actors are working overtime
to try to disguise the fact that You Again is supposed to be a comedy
and yet none of it is really funny. Very little of the movie even reaches
the more modest aim of being kinda amusing. Mostly, it just feels sad.It does share
is all about its high
concept story idea – to the point that little niceties like story coherence
and character consistency are just tossed out the window.
plays Marni, a formerly-tortured high school nerd who moved away from home
and has blossomed into a gorgeous and successful businesswoman. She is
invited home for her brother’s wedding when – wait for it! – it turns out
that the woman he is marrying is Joanna (Odette Yustman), the very same girl
who made Marni’s life hell in school.
transparent coincidence is unlikely for several reasons. First of all, what
are really the chances that Marni would not know who her beloved brother was
engaged to before the wedding week – despite the fact that Joanna has been
accepted into her family as another sister? Also, there is a flashback
scene of the brother and sister in high school in which he offers to protect
her from the bully, so he obviously knew what was going on at the time and
should know of the powderkeg of a situation he is causing. And finally, if
this girl bullied his sister mercilessly, she must have known it would come
back to haunt her. So why did she not just own up to it?
However, if you are looking for any kind of plot sense then you’re at the
Instead, despite the fact that Marni has become a smart, savvy and beautiful
adult, as soon as she sees Joanna she is suddenly the mousy, pimply shy girl
again. Apparently Marni has never learned that living well is the best
revenge. Therefore, Marni tries ineffectually to get revenge on Joanna
while only she seems to be getting hurt and humiliated.
mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) tells Marni to pull it together – until (another
huge coincidence alert!) Joanne’s aunt shows up and turns out to be mom’s
own high school nemesis (Sigourney Weaver). From then on, mom acts even
more pathetic and needy and ridiculous than
huge part of the problem is that the movie tries to have it both ways with
its antagonist characters. Are they still evil or was it all a huge
misunderstanding? Do they hate the family or are they jealous?
example, depending on the whims of the screenwriter, Yustman’s bully claims
to be horrified by her former acts of meanness and at the same time seems to
revel in them – like the scene where she smugly cranks the song “We Are the
Champions” on the radio, a song she knows that has hurtful memories for
it because she is a complex, contradictory character, or is it because
screenwriter Moe Jelline knows there is no story otherwise?
think we can safely say that the answer is the second option.
However, just by shoehorning events into a screenplay doesn’t change this
problem. You Again is a story not worth telling.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: February 8, 2011.