Friday, May 31, 2013

Movie Review: You Again

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Enjoyable comedy with a great cast
Cons: Predictable; a few extended scenes of awkward humor
The Bottom Line:
Nothing surprising
But an enjoyable film
Filled with a great cast

"High School Was a Horror Movie.  And This Weekend is the Sequel."

I have often bemoaned some of the movies I have seen because I was a fan of a certain actor or actress.  When I started hearing the cast of You Again, I knew I was doomed.  With the likes of Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Victor Garber, Betty White, and Kristin Chenoweth in it, there was no way I could miss it.  And I'm glad those names propelled me to the theater because I enjoyed it.

Back in 2002, Marni Olivia Olsen (Kristen Bell) was a miserable high school senior.  She wore glasses and braces and had bad acne.  And her initials didn't help things at all.  The worst tormentor was the most popular girl in school, JJ.

Flash forward to the present, and Marni is a very successful PR woman coming home for her brother Will's (Jimmy Wolk) wedding.  On the flight back, she learns that Will's fiancee is Joanna (Odette Yustman), aka JJ from high school.  And Marni is further upset to see that her entire family loves Joanna, who seems to have forgotten her from high school.

But the surprises are just getting started when Joanna's Aunt Mona (Sigourney Weaver) shows up.  Mona and Marni's mom Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) were friends in high school who had a falling out and haven't spoken in years.  As these two sets of rivals try to act like their past means nothing to them, things are bubbling just below the surface.  Will they work everything out, or will the past ruin the wedding?

So I knew the answer to that question before I even started.  And there weren't too many surprises along the way.  Heck, any surprises there might have been were ruined by the previews.

The trip was a pleasant one, however.  While I don't condone any of the actions taken by the women in this movie, it was fun watching them work through their respective pasts.  While the climax could have been stronger, I bought it completely.

And that's the strength of the actors.  In lesser hands, this movie would have fallen apart.  But everyone here played off each other so well, that you couldn't help but buy that these characters were doing what they thought was right in each situation even when we know it is the wrong course of action.  Kristin Chenoweth is a hoot as the wedding planner.  And Victor Garber is perfect as the longsuffering husband/father.  And Betty White steals all her scenes as the grandmother, but that's hardly a surprise.

There are some very fun cameos in this movie as well.  One on a plane was perfect, but the best one was once again spoiled by the previews.  I still enjoyed it since I love The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but it would have been better as a complete surprise.

I was a little concerned going into the movie since I often find movies full of awkward humor (i.e. people making fools out of themselves) painful instead of funny.  There were a couple of scenes that were like that.  One in particular had me looking away from the screen while the rest of the audience I saw it with was howling.  But most of the movie wasn't that bad for me, and I laughed quite a few times.

Considering the premise and the actors, I'm sure I'm not going to surprise anyone when I saw this movie is clearly aimed at women.  Not that men can't enjoy it, but they most likely won't appreciate it quite as much.

There's nothing profound or deep about You Again.  It's just fun entertainment.  And if the sound of that appeals to you, you'll enjoy watching this movie.

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