'You Again' Movie Review
The new romantic comedy ‘You Again’ is all about rivalries: not only are the lead women characters out for revenge on each other, but it’s also premiering against another major star-driven film, the Oliver Stone-directed sequel to the hit Academy Award-winning movie ‘Wall Street.’ While ‘Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps’ showcases the economic hardships Americans are facing today, a problem many Americans want to forget about while at the movies, ‘You Again,’ which stars Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver and Betty White, highlights the fact that petty high school rivalries plague women long after they graduated. While meant for fun, laughs and a good time, ‘You Again’ still seems destined to thwarted by its ‘Wall Street 2’ competition.
The movie starts off with Marni Young (played by Bell), now a prominent vice president of a large Los Angeles public relations company, giving an inspirational speech to the junior officers in her company. She relives her high school days, during which she was branded a “loser” by the popular crowd, but states that making it through those tough days only helped make her who she is today. Later, while traveling home to her hometown of Ridgewood, California, for the wedding of her older brother Will (portrayed by James Wolk of TV’s ‘Lone Star’), Marni discovers that the bride-to-be is her high school archenemy, Joanna (played by Yustman).
While the Young family adores the new, nicer Joanna, Marni tries to protect her brother by plotting to stop the wedding. Their mother, Gail (portrayed by Curtis), tells Marni that she should get over her differences with Joanna for Will’s sake. However, Gail’s outlook on mending old differences quickly changes when she meets Joanna’s Aunt Romona (played by Weaver), who was her high school rival.
The title of the movie, ‘You Again,’ sums up the fact that the film doesn’t set itself apart from other movies about petty high school rivalries. While screenwriter Moe Jelline tries to showcase the comedic acting talents of the lead actresses, including Bell, Yustman, Curtis, Weaver and Betty White, who plays Marni’s grandmother, the plotline seems as though it would work better for a half-hour sitcom than a full-length movie. While there were some comedic moments, such as Curtis and Weaver fighting in a pool after the rehearsal dinner and White showing off her moves during a dance rehearsal, Jelline didn’t include much substance in the plot. Viewers can tell right away that Marni and Joanna and Gail and Romona are old enemies struggling to make it through the wedding, so Jelline should have included a sub-plot to keep the audience entertained.
While Bell was the main actress and was able to show Marni’s disdain for Joanna and the pain she still felt from the torture she suffered in high school, Yustman was really the one that stood out. While she’s most remembered for starring in the horror movies ‘The Unborn’ and ‘Cloverfield,’ Yustman proved in ‘You Again’ that she can be a successful comedic actress as well. One minute Yustman portrayed Joanna as mean and vindictive towards Marni when she threatened to tell Will and the rest of her family about how she treated her in high school, and the next she was sweet and concerned for the welfare of others, when working to become an RN.
Among the older cast of women, White definitely once again stole every scene she was in, just like she did in ‘The Proposal.’ While Weaver and Curtis didn’t bring anything new to their characters that audiences haven’t already seen from them, White used physical comedy and one-liners to prove that even though she’s an older woman, she doesn’t want to be taken seriously.
‘You Again’ will definitely bring some light-hearted laughs to viewers, and is definitely appropriate for mothers and daughters to see together, as it was rated PG for brief mild language and rude behavior. But the lack of an in-depth plot and some immature antics by taken by numerous characters won’t be leaving Paramount Pictures, the movie’s distributor, with another blockbuster, award-winning film.
Written by: Karen Benardello