Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Yustman, Betty White
• Following Fickman: On Set With The Director • Ask The Cast• Funny Or Die• 3 deleted scenes with commentaryo Sharing A Room
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It would have been too much to hope for that Kristen Bell, who made her leading actress debut in this past year's bland yet semi-rewarding When in Rome with Josh Duhamel, might've found a more lively, spirited and original vehicle for her second feature film as a leading lady.
No such luck.
You Again is predictable in virtually every way that a film can be predictable, a paint-by-numbers warm and fuzzy comedy lite that had so much potentail to be so much more given its talented and obviously game cast.
Bell is Marni, a former high school nerd extraordinaire who was nicknamed "Moo" but who has managed to turn into a rather successful businesswoman who returns home for her brother's wedding only to discover that, GASP!, he's marrying her high school arch-enemy (Odette Yustman), who has seemingly become rather angelic (though Marni sure isn't buying "the act"). Marni's mother, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), urges her to put her feelings aside, at least until the new bride-to-be's Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) shows up and just happens to be Gail's former high school best friend turned similar arch enemy.
Surely by now you've figured out where this film is going?
Oh, have I mentioned that Grandma is played by Betty White?
If it is possible to have a paint-by-numbers paint-by-numbers film, then You Again would be such a film, a film that contains virtually every warm and fuzzy light comedy cliche' known to Hollywood and tosses them all into the same film. The film that follows is filled with lots of physical slapstick, the same kind of humor that didn't work for Bell in When in Rome and isn't much more successful in this film. One gets the sense that Bell is capable of a more cerebral, edgier comedy and it's a shame that the script by Moe Jelline just wouldn't go beyond the film's PG rating.
While the film is unfathomably timid and lacking in comedic courage, the cast remains incredibly invested throughout the film and ends up putting together a film that plays out more successfully than one might think.
Bell, for example, feels more comfortable and authentic here than she did in When in Rome, a film that always felt like it was only firing on half its cylinders. While warm and fuzzy isn't exactly a natural state for Bell, she's clearly game here and in the few scenes where she's allowed to cut loose we start to see just how much potential she really has as an actress.
Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis are two acting pros who mine these characters for laughs that virtually no other actresses could have possibly found. Weaver and Curtis have a comfortable, relaxed chemistry together and it's easy to buy into both their friendship and the years long squabbling that followed conflict.
Odette Yustman has long been an underrated actress, and her performance here should open up even more doors for the actress as she nicely shades her character just enough that we can buy into Marni's skepticism about her angelic shift since high school.
And, of course, Betty White is, well, Betty White.
Despite complete and utter predictability across the board, the ensemble cast of You Again work together to create a film that is funnier than it really ought to be and more entertaining than one might guess from the film's mediocre trailer. Director Andy Fickman sure doesn't add anything new to the genre of romantic comedy, but if only for this fine quintet actresses You Again is worth a view at matinee prices.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic