You Again is sometimes good and sometimes…Disney

You Again – 2010

Directed by – Andy Fickman

Starring – Kristin Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Yustman, Betty White, Victor Garber, Cloris Leachman

Screenplay by – Mo Jelline

You again was unnecessarily slaughtered upon its release in September, and I am not entirely sure why.  This was not an award-winning film by any sense of the word: meaning Oscars or Razzies.  Instead, it was pretty typical fare for Disney.  There were petty jealousies, unrealistic successes, strong family dynamic, an incidental father figure and wacky hi jinks.  If the movie were on the Disney channel, one would barely be able to distinguish it from an episode of Hannah Montana or The Wizards of Waverly Place, were it not for the acting talent involved.

A brief sketch of the plot is all that is needed (and, really, more than is deserved).  Opening about a decade ago, Kristin Bell’s Marni is incessantly tortured by Yustman’s “Jay-Jay.”  Now in the present, Marni is the newly promoted VP of something somewhere and makes her way back home for her brother’s wedding.  Who is she marrying?  That’s right, Jay-Jay.  When she gets home, both her brother and Jay-Jay seem oblivious to the bride to be was an antagonist for Marni.  In fact, Jay-Jay has somehow intertwined with Marni’s family, from Grandma (White) even down to the family dog.  Marni, then, decides that she has to keep her brother from marrying her brother.  Meanwhile, we find that Jay-Jay’s wildly successful Aunt Ramona is coming to the wedding from far away.  Guess who she had been antagonistic with in High School?  Well, she’s about the same age as her mother, Gail, (Curtis).  Well, actually, she’s 9 years older.  She looks younger, though, so that’s a wash.

One way to pass the time in a film like this is to be amazed at what the characters don’t know when they don’t know it.  How did Jay-Jay take the time to weave her way into Marni’s life and get engaged to her brother without Marni knowing about it?  How did the same happen without Gail realizing that her closest living relative is Gail’s nemesis?  How did Jay-Jay’s ex-fiance, whom she left at the altar, not figure out that he was organizing the wedding for that same person?  How could their mothers (White and Leachman) go decades without knowing they were the mother’s of Gail and Ramona?

These questions notwithstanding, the movie has its moments.  Mostly when dealing with the interplay between Curtis and Weaver, you feel some genuine warmth and emotion.  Curtis also has some nice moments with Garber, as her husband.  Weaver is always a pleasure to watch.  She makes bad material good.

Bell’s effect on the work is less pronounced.  She just kind of bounces from scene to scene, not really doing more than react to obvious situations.  Bell can act, as her time on Veronica Mars demonstrated, she just hasn’t found her way around a comedy script yet.  I think it may just be the quality of the scripts.  Even Reese Witherspoon would have a hard time making this role work.

Having already spent more time writing about this thank was probably spent writing the script, I can say this: if you like any of the players in this movie, your time will not be entirely wasted.  This is a rainy Sunday afternoon movie is there ever was one.  Nothing here is so insulting to your intelligence that you can’t allow yourself and your kids to watch.  If you survived either of the Freaky Friday‘s, this’ll be a breeze.

(**1/2 out of *****)



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