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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

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