[originally published October 29, 2010.]
Savor the moments that are warm, special and giggly.
Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis,Sigourney Weaver, Victor Garber, Betty White, Odette Yustman
Really? Kristen Bell (Heroes - TV series), Victor Garber (Alias – TV series), Jamie-Lee Curtis (Halloween), Sigourney Weaver (Alien and Avatar), Icon – Betty White – I don’t want to stereotype or pigeon-hole but REALLY. Did they read the script? Did they want to do something different and bad?
Plot: When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school, she sets out to expose the fiancée’s true colors. (IMDB)
Sigourney Weaver – is it odd to see this power-house being (insert adjective here) or is it just me? What is the kick-ass heroine of films like Alien (1979) and Avatar (2009) doing here? She plays a mother-figure again. (http://www.liveforfilms.com/2010/07/01/alien-films-and-the-maternal-by-romy-shiller/) There is a reference to Alien when the Kristin Bell character (Marni) looks at a photograph where a sea creature glued itself to her face. She likewise tells her mom, Jamie-Lee Curtis (Horror movie Queen) that high-school was a horror story. Weaver is bitchy and powerful but the context of this film renders her lame. LAME!!!!!!!
Weaver talks about working with Curtis; “We’d only met, and we’ve worked with a lot of the same people, in a lot of the same genres. It took a movie like You Again to put both of us in the same movie because we wouldn’t normally be. It would be one or the other.” (http://www.collider.com/2010/09/22/sigourney-weaver-interview-you-again/) At least we can hear about them…
On the American version of the television show Big Brother, contestants were divided into high-school cliques 2 summers ago, the athletes, popular, brains and off-beats. (http://romyshiller.com/Big_Bother.php). One contestant lamented that he had to suffer through high-school again. It is a common experience that high-school is a difficult period for most teens. “There are many High School cliques, but very few nice cliques .The clique you’re in pretty much describes who you are. What is a clique? A clique is merely your friends and how you and them are labeled.” – source
The film plays upon this difficulty generationally .I wanted to yell, “move on already” but that would have implied that I was invested and I wasn’t.
The plot revolves around Kristen trying to expose her tormentor and break-up the couple. Marni is regretful. Oh, boo-hoo. When the fiancée self-destructs she goes to the fridge. Cliché much?
So, Kristen Bell’s character has a beloved brother who is about to marry Kristen’s high-school tormentor, Joanna. The tormentor’s aunt (Weaver) went to school with Kristin’s mom (Curtis) and we are immediately convinced that they too had a contentious relationship. Oh wicked webs we weave or yawn. I wanted someone to be decapitated or lost in space…this was not the appropriate genre though – I knew that! However, an unexpected twist…
Of course the acting was good – look at the actors. Kristen Bell made a great awkward teenager replete with acne, braces and glasses. Victor Garber and Jamie-Lee Curtis play her parents brilliantly. Curtis talks about Weaver; “We’ve been up for a lot of movies together. She always got them. I don’t hold any grudge,” she says about Weaver. “I barely got through high school. She went to Yale, speaks French. She was in the number-one movie of all time [Avatar], and she’ll tell you often that she was. I was in the worst piece of shit you’ve ever seen, called Virus. And yet my action figure is bigger than hers. Her action figure was 50-percent off. My action figure was a premium cost on eBay. That’s all I’m saying.” (www.straight.com) Kristin Chenoweth as Georgia the wedding-planner is fabulous. Betty White is the grandmother. She was what you would expect – Betty White-esque. Nobody says this but she’s always the same. Weaver and Curtis – wasted divas.
Rob Humanick from Slant Magazine says, “You Again almost gleefully aims for the bottom of the barrel, jettisoning everything from consistency of character to every last ounce of dignity once possessed by its cast.” (Rotten Tomatoes)
The film was watchable – like slowing the car down to see an accident. I was going to suggest it as a rental, but give ME your money instead.
Romy Shiller is a pop culture critic and holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Toronto. Her academic areas of concentration include film, gender performance, camp and critical thought. She lives in Montreal where she continues her writing. All books are available online.