Review by Jack Foley
NOT many movies can be said to waste the talents of three generations of Hollywood leading ladies, but Andy Fickman’s You Again comes perilously close.
Designed as a family comedy that combines elements of Mean Girls with the likes of 27 Dresses and Bride Wars, the film is a contrived, unfunny mess that suffers from unrealistic characters and an ending you can see coming within the first three minutes.
In the right hands, some of this could have been fun, as the film is fortunate to boast a great cast. But Fickman – whose track record already includes She’s The Man, The Game Plan and Race To Witch Mountain – fails to make the most of the talent at his disposal.
The plot follows successful PR executive Marni (Kristen Bell) as she returns home for her brother’s wedding, only to discover that he is betrothed to her high-school nemesis, Joanna (Odette Yustman) – a former bitch apparently turned saint.
As she attempts to expose the truth and drive a wedge between them, her mum (Jamie Lee Curtis) must also face up to the realisation that Joanna’s aunt and guardian (Sigourney Weaver) is also a former teen best friend turned rival.
To be fair, there is room for some edgy, possibly even subversive comedy to be extracted from the ensuing scenario, but You Again fails even to grasp at that, opting instead for a play-it-safe, family friendly formula that comes packaged in a U certificate.
Hence, almost every gag is as telegraphed as the story beats, while the inevitable life lessons are delivered in a manner that borders on the patronising and feel bad.
To make matters worse, there’s a smugness early on that’s hard to shake off and not a single character or scenario feels real given how contrived or cliché ridden they all feel.
Of the performances, only really Weaver and Curtis emerge with any credit, clearly relishing the opportunity of sharing the screen together and making the most of a bad situation. They, at least, look to be having fun.
But Bell and Yustman fail to breathe any life or charisma into their respective characters, with Bell – in particular – appearing desperately short-changed by Disney in the wake of this and When In Rome.
Support from the likes of veteran Golden Girl Betty White and Broadway sensation Kristin Chenoweth even fails to enliven proceedings, and virtually completes the triple generations’ worth of wasted talent.
Fickman even resorts to cameos to pad out proceedings – but while an early one from Dwayne Johnson gives rise to one of the film’s few smirks, a belated one involving former Dallas star Patrick Duffy (aka Bobby Ewing) only leaves you wishing you could write this whole experience off as a bad dream. Alas, there’s no such luck on this occasion.
Running time: 105mins
UK DVD Release Date: March 28, 2011