You Again

Earlier this year, they trotted out Kristen Bell in the surprisingly watchable When In Rome, and now they’ve hitched their wagon to her star one more time with You Again. Can you blame them? She’s dripping with star power, is easy on the eyes, and has the acting chops to round out the package.

Someday she’ll have a high-quality movie to really showcase her talent.

As it is, You Again is one of those ‘perfectly fine’ movies. It’s riddled with clichés, but it’s also pretty darn funny in spots. It’s got a very talented cast (Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Victor Garber, and the ubiquitous Betty White), but there will be times when you cringe at what they stoop to for a laugh. If there’s a big tureen of soup, you know it’s getting dumped on someone’s head. If there’s a swimming pool, you know the elegantly-clad people will fall in. And if two people are bending over to pick up something off the floor you know they’ll bonk heads and eventually fall in love. Check. Check. And check.

Bell is Marni, a high-powered PR exec who’s heading home for her brother’s wedding. Back in high school, she was a pimply-faced, ratty-haired loser, the subject of constant hazing at the hands of head cheerleader Joanne (Odette Yustman). Turns out (and here’s where a gaping plot hole rears its ugly head), Joanne is now her brother’s fiancée, but Marni has no idea until she finds out while talking to her mom Gail (Curtis) on the plane ride home.

Not to get bogged down on this, but how do you not know who your brother is marrying? Unless Marni is a Peace Corps volunteer in Equatorial Guinea (which she’s not) wouldn’t it have come up in conversation? Maybe over Christmas dinner, or in a random phone call? Fail.

Moving on… Marni arrives home (pimple-free and with freshly Pantene’d hair) and comes face-to-face with her old nemesis. At the same time, Joanne introduces her soon-to-be in-laws to her aunt Mona (Weaver). Turns out, Mona and Gail were also rivals in high school (we know this because we’re shown a flashback where Mona pushes Gail into a hotel pool on prom night. See?)

Cue the rekindled competition between all parties involved. Pre-wedding dance class becomes a throw-down that makes Step Up look tame, casual conversations become barb-filled, venomous banter, and it all culminates with a rehearsal dinner for the ages.

Some of it (well, most of it) is over-the-top, but occasionally a solid joke makes it through. Plot-wise, you’ll be able to accurately predict exactly how the story will play itself out after only a few minutes.

The saving grace in all this is the cast and their chemistry with each other. From top to bottom (and including several fun cameos along the way) everyone rises above the material to keep things relatively fun. Special mention goes to Kyle Bornheimer, who steals the show as Tim, Joanne’s ex-boyfriend (though it will take a stretch of the imagination to picture the two of them together).

You Again might actually make you say, ‘This again?’, but it will also make you laugh. And that’s a perfectly fine combination.

2.5/5 stars