Sunday, February 20, 2022

You Again

Movie Name:
You Again
Year of Release: 2010
Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis, Victor Garber, Kristin Chenoweth, Betty White, James Wolk, Sean Wing, Kyle Bornheimer, William Brent, Christine Lakin, Patrick Duffy
Genre: Comedy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Director Andy Fickman made a name for himself with the comedies "She's the Man", "The Game Plan" and "Race to Witch Mountain", before tackling "You Again", which featured a very clever casting coup, bringing together both Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis (both leading ladies who did iconic work in James Cameron films, respectively "Aliens" and "True Lies"). "You Again" follows the story of Marni, a professional in Public Relations, who we find at the beginning of the film, getting a big promotion to become a VP in NY. Before she starts the new job, she actually has to go back to her hometown, since her older brother is getting married. And turns out, by a weird coincidence, his bride is the insufferable Joanna, her former high school nemesis who made Marni's life a complete hell, humiliating her at every chance she had (and she had plenty of opportunities). Much to Marni's surprise, Joanna acts as if though she has never met her, and much to Marni's chagrin, Joanna has seemingly changed her act, and is now a caring nurse. Joanna also introduces her closest family member, her aunt Ramona, to Marni's family. Much to everyone's surprise, she is Gail's (Marni's mom), high school best friend, and they also had a very public fall out. As the wedding is in 4 days, all this tension comes to a boiling point moment. 
"You Again" benefits from the fact that it manages to gather a terrific cast, some of whom have a terrific chemistry together (Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis for instance), however and unlike Michael Lehman's "Heathers" or Mark Waters' "Mean Girls", the script is afraid to really showcase the nastiness of some people, and how ultimately there isn't redemption for everyone. The script somehow sanitizes many of the nasty behaviors that early on in the narrative Andy Fickman illustrated, trying to envelop and wrap all the threads with happy endings, which ultimately renders this film almost like a Lifetime type of engagement (only with top notch caliber acting). Another big issue of the film itself, is the fact that none of the lead characters seem to have much dimension to themselves, aside from what the early flashbacks provide. Marni for the most part seems just like the same person she was in high school, with not much maturity, friends, or even ability to demonstrate why she became a VP at 30. The same going for her nemesis. Sigourney Weaver's Ramona and Jamie Lee Curtis' Gail, they both turn out to be far more interesting characters, since their falling out stems from a cracked friendship (less campy than Helen and Madeline's in Robert Zemeckis' "Death Becomes Her"), and not necessarily from a deliberate and persistent bullying. It's a film that has immense potential, but it squanders it by trying to neatly tie everything with a happy ending, failing to realize that in order for that happy statement to occur, the characters have to resonate and have some actual motivation. The cast is game, particularly Ms. Weaver and Ms. Curtis, with the wonderful Kristen Bell trying her best to give the film a jolt of energy, with apt support from Victor Garber, Kristin Chenoweth and Betty White. While the cast is indeed fantastic, this film is ultimately forgettable.