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Monday, May 30, 2011

You Again

Title: You Again

Year of Release: 2010

Date Viewed: February 13th, 2011

MPAA Rating: PG

For many people, high school can be a nightmare. For several characters in this movie, the nightmare is about to be repeated. For me, this whole movie is a nightmare.

In this comedy, ugly duckling Marni (Kristen Bell) suffers through high school bullying before finding post-graduation success as a business executive and motivational speaker. She also becomes pretty of course, because movies like to teach us that only attractive people can learn self confidence. Marni lives peacefully with the knowledge that her troubled past is all behind her, until she gets summoned back to her hometown to celebrate her brother's wedding. As fate would have it, the groom is being married to Joanna (Odette Yustman), Marni's nemesis from high school. Joanna doesn't appear to remember her, but Marni still feels uneasy about seeing an old enemy become part of the family.

Marni's mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) tries to bring comfort by relating her own struggles with high school peers. One of those feuds is reignited when Joanna introduces her Aunt Mona (Sigourney Weaver) to the party. Gail and Mona were former friends turned rivals after discovering they had been chasing the same dates. Like her niece, Mona initially doesn't show any signs of a grudge. But soon enough, the same rival pairs begin to grate each on other's nerves as if nothing had ever changed. The conflicts heat up enough to the point where the wedding is doomed for disaster unless everyone can resolve their differences in time.

Betty White appears in a supporting role to ride the wave of her recent popularity surge but doesn't bring enough charm to lift the story's dead weight. You know who else shows up in this movie? Pretty much everyone that ever appeared on prime time television within the last thirty years. I'm almost convinced the cast showed up for some sort of Hollywood reunion party and decided to make a quick movie while everyone was there. Might as well get the most out of that rented banquet hall. The cameos are so random and so laughable that probably the only fun you'll have is finding out who comes out of the retirement home next. I suggest making a game out of it, like my father did. Name the movie/show that made the person famous.



Die Hard!...

Mary Tyler Moore!...


That one wrestler guy!...

It's difficult to make comedy out of serious social issues like bullying. You Again takes the material into ridiculous territory; a wise move theoretically. But it forgets to land back into reality when the time called for it. It also forgets who its target audience is. Since when did a PG rating have to mean immature humor with enough pratfalls and name-calling to fill an elementary school cafeteria?

The acting is mainly atrocious. When trying to imagine the script in my mind, nothing "flies off the page" the way a screenplay should. The cast tries to work around this by stretching their dialogue far enough to emphasize every word in an effort to sound funny. But sounding funny never translates here to actually being funny. This annoying tactic persists through the movie's first act until everyone just gives up and lets the events take their course.

This may be bias talking as I am a fan of hers, but it seemed like Sigourney Weaver was the only actress that tried really hard to make this movie work. Her character is someone that was supposed to believe the hype that her popular high school followers granted her even long after the era has long passed. This called for Weaver to act more confident, more competitive and to flaunt money better than any of her other cast mates. She was supposed to be a main villain yet I wanted to see more of her antics because of the energy it brought to the table. Sadly, she must have seen the writing on the wall before the wrap party and eventually joined everyone else in phoning in the work.

The story's climatic phase felt so forced and awkward that it was hard for me to even sit comfortably on the couch. I'd almost rather watch real bullies torment helpless victims than to watch these attractive women pretend to hate each other. Both scenarios are equally humorless.

Rating: 1

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Commentary: Fifteen Movie Questions Meme

Hello readers. Sorry it’s been so long since the last update. Maintaining a blog like this can be very challenging when you’re as easily distracted as I am. Now that the peaceful summer is upon us and most of my stressful endeavors are behind me, this place will see a surge of new life very soon.

Part of the reason for the long delay can be blamed on technical difficulties with Blogger’s formatting system. In recent months, my posts have appeared sloppy and inconsistent with each other. It often took more time to clean up the mess than to write it. I’m using a new software, Windows Live Writer, which will hopefully fix some of these issues. Time will tell.

As you can see from looking at the “Upcoming Reviews” section, I have fallen way behind my writing schedule. Everything will be covered in due time. But first, we’ll get things going again with a special list of favorites. This meme was originally created by Anna at Defiant Success. You can see her work at

Feel free to post your own responses here or at your respective website.

Thank you to all my followers for staying with me through the downtime. Looking forward to many more cinema discussions in the future.

Movie you love with a passion.


The Truman Show

Terrific story, beautiful cinematography, perfect acting, well-crafted suspense, wonderful music, and a thrilling conclusion. An all-around great film about a culture obsessed with reality television that was a few years ahead of its time.

Movie you vow to never watch


From Justin to Kelly

Speaking of reality television, someone decided that American Idol didn’t get enough exposure and came up with a way to extend the fame machine’s life for another cash grab. I’m sure Justin and Kelly are very nice people but I have no desire to watch this cliché-fest.

Movie that literally left you speechless.


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas


Movie you always recommend.


The Wrestler

Wrestling is fake, you say? Fake to whom?

Actor/actress you always watch, no matter how crappy the movie is.


Tim Curry

This guy has more charisma in his left eye than most of today’s A-listers have within their souls.

Actor/actress you don’t get the appeal for.


Halle Berry

Halle Berry always seems to try harder at making herself look sexy than immersing herself into the character. Sometimes looking sexy is all that’s required from her.

Actor/actress, living or dead, you’d love to meet.


Michael Caine

After watching his acting tutorials, Michael Caine seems like the ultimate professional that has seen and done it all. I could listen to this man tell stories all day.

Sexiest actor/actress you’ve seen. (Picture required.)


Isla Fisher

Dear Isla,
If Sacha is ever out of town and you need someone to help babysit you the kids, I’m available to help.

Dream Cast


The Sega Dreamcast

Currently, my sister has custody of it. But I have a Wii now, so it’s no big deal.

Favorite Actor Pairing


Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau

Felix: In other words, you’re throwing me out!
Oscar: Not in other words. Those are the perfect ones.

Favorite Movie Setting


New York City

The city that never sleeps.

Favorite decade for movies



The era of nostalgia.

Chick flick or action movie?


Action Movie

I’m a guy, so naturally…

Hero, villain or anti-hero?



The world can never have too many of them. (Someone should turn this into a motivational poster.)

Black and white or color?



I can appreciate the unique qualities of black and white cinema. But color is superior. Sorry, old timers.