The movie I am about to review will probably resonate with a lot of people. It is about the horror days of high school when the popular girls (or guys) take it upon themselves to make the lives of geeks and nerds miserable.
While I was lucky enough to escape that kind of torture, I befriended more than a few people in school who were not. I remember one girl in particular who was believed to be a witch just because she dressed differently and had a mysterious persona. In reality she was sweet and high intelligence.
There were others too that were forced outside looking in for no good reason other than something that others perceived odd about them. One such girl became one of my dearest friends. She was one of the kindest souls it had been my pleasure to encounter.
The film’s name is “You Again”. It features an all-star cast with Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Victor Garber and Betty White to name a few.
Bell plays Marni, a beautiful young up-and-comer in the world of PR. However, in her younger years, she was an acne-prone nerd who was clumsy and uncertain in school. That made her the perfect target for Joanna (Odette Yustman) and her popular friends.
Although Marni has gotten over those painful years, she most assuredly has not forgotten them. So imagine her surprise and utter shock to discover that her brother Will (James Wolk) is all set to marry her arch nemesis.
Worse yet, it appears that JJ, or Joanna if you will, doesn’t even remember who Marni is. Or does she?
Things don’t go very well when it appears that Joanna has usurped Marni’s position in the family. Her parents adore their would-be daughter-in-law. Her grandmother (Betty White) has made Joanna her best friend. Even Marni’s own dog now prefers JJ to her.
At first Marni is just irritated that JJ doesn’t remember her. That is until the girl makes it clear that she does actually know who she is. Then the game is on to expose Joanna to Will before the wedding takes place.
As if the Marni/Joanna dynamic isn’t enough, the audience soon learns that Marni’s mother, Gail, and Joanna’s only surviving relative, her aunt Ramona, also have a past. Once best friends in school, the two girls split over an incident that both claim not to recall.
As the movie progresses; however, it becomes clear that the two women remember everything and are intent on making each other pay for some long-ago slight. But who was the perpetrator and who was the victim in the case of the elders?
Obviously, I’m not going to tell you that. Nor am I going to spill the beans about how Marni and Joanna resolve their differences; assuming, of course, that they do. You will have to watch the film to find out for yourselves.
There is a lot of truth in this movie unfortunately. It is shameful and a bit appalling to see how people treat one another at times. However, it also makes a case for not assuming that people can never change.
“You Again” isn’t a great film. It is barely a good one. In fact, the critics hated it for the most part. That is because the slapstick sometimes goes just a bit too far and other times it doesn’t go far enough. Either way, it misses the target; leaving the movie in uncharted and unintended territory.
The acting is pretty good. I love Bell’s easy charm and natural comedic timing. It is just a shame that she has yet to find the right film to showcase it properly.
Yustman, as Joanna, is the quintessential cheerleader you love to hate. She’s cute and perky and way too good to be true.
Curtis is always funny in the kind of role she takes on here. She’s looking pretty hot too, despite her short, gray locks.
Weaver is hilarious as Ramona, but she is also a bit wistful and forlorn. Despite her actions, you can’t help but like her.
The real fun in the film; however, comes from White and Garber. As Grandma Bunny, White is intent on becoming the oldest living cougar. It’s endearing, cute and funny. Garber has the time of his life playing a role unlike anything he’s tackled before. I think comedy suits him, oddly enough.
The screenplay penned by Moe Jelline rings all too true in many ways. It is clever, funny and yet sentimental and romantic too.
Andy Fickman does an okay job at directing, although I couldn’t help but feel that a better director might have used all that acting talent in a stronger way. It just seems like the comedy took a lot of wrong turns along the way.
I liked this movie. I know my daughter will like it too. She will identify with Marni having had a difficult time in high school herself. Also like Marni; however, my daughter had the last laugh. Her life has far surpassed anything a fairytale could conceive and her beauty outshines them all both inwardly and outwardly.
I give “You Again” 3 out of 5 stars. That might be a star more than most critics but I think there is a lot to learn here about people and the real world. Why not learning while doing a bit of laughing along the way?
RATING SCALE USED:
0 = A stinker. Don’t waste the money!
1 = Bad. Rent it at your own risk.
2 = Below average. See only if you have time to kill.
2.5 = Average. A toss up.
3 = Good. Worth a looksee.
3.5 = Very Good. I recommend it.
4 = Excellent. Don’t miss it!
4.5 = Outstanding. What are you waiting for?
5 = Destined to become a classic. You will be sorry if you don’t see it.