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You Again tries to be a lot of things, including an underdog story, a little bit of Mean Girls, and a heartfelt comedy about love, family, growing up, and moving on, but the story never quite comes together and, despite the talented cast, neither does the comedy.
You Again follows Marni (Kristen Bell), a successful public relations executive who returns home for her brother’s wedding, only to find that he’s about to marry the meanest girl in her high school graduating class. Through a series of amusing flashbacks, we see that the high school version of Marni (aka “Moo,” thanks to an unfortunate set of initials) is the quintessential teen geek, complete with bad skin, bad hair, braces, and glasses. Joanna (Odette Yustman) is the queen bee of the school and takes pleasure in making public displays of humiliation out of Marni. Eight years later, Joanna is engaged to Marni’s brother, Will (James Wolk), the all-around nice guy.
The story follows Marni as she tries to deal with her family welcoming Joanna into their home and lives, while she re-explores all of the insecurities of her teen years. Meanwhile, Marni’s mother, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), finds herself confronted with her own high school issues when Joanna’s Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) arrives. Gail and Ramona were once friends but had a falling out during their high school prom. Old wounds are opened and jealousy and insecurity begins to seep out as though high school were only yesterday instead of years ago.
Rounding out the cast is Betty White as the funny grandmother; Victor Garber as Marni’s dad; Sean Wing as Charlie, the potential love interest to Marni; and Kristin Chenoweth, playing her typical brand of peppy blonde as the wedding planner. Kyle Bornheimer plays Tim, a mysterious (and strange) man from Joanna’s past.
Between the cast and the premise, you would think the movie would have to go out of its way not to be funny and entertaining, but somehow, it manages to do just that, as the film is neither. All of the pieces are there, including a story that many girls can probably relate to on some level, whether they were a Marni, a Joanna, or somewhere in between, but the story never comes together and the film turns out to be less than the sum of its talented parts.
Marni’s frustration at seeing her brother about to marry the girl who made her life hell for four years is understandable, but finding a way to suspend my disbelief as Marni trips over herself trying to expose Joanna for who she really is (or was eight years ago) was as difficult as it was trying to figure out whether Joanna really still is the same catty girl she was in her teen years. I guess that’s supposed to be part of the build-up of the story, but not knowing if the girl really is the villain or if she’s grown up makes it difficult to empathize with Marni, whose methods of exposing Joanna are intentionally indirect and lead to a series of mishaps that never quite hit the funny mark. Meanwhile, there are moments between Sigourney Weaver and Jamie Lee Curtis that really begin to click, but fizzle fast thanks to a lack of any substantial context within their story.
The film comes to a slow conclusion that seems to take forever to play out and, likely due to a lack of connection with the characters, doesn’t really land anywhere interesting. Simply put, I went into You Again wanting to like it, and walked away from it wishing I could see the same cast in a different movie.
You Again’s 2-Disc Combo Pack comes with the film on Blu-ray and DVD, which is always a perk for those who either have yet to upgrade to Blu-ray or else would like the option of playing the film on a DVD player. Both discs come with a nice assortment of bonus features.
Playing the disc requires you to watch (or skip past) several trailers before getting to the menu. Those can also be viewed from the menu, along with a few bonus features. There’s no commentary for the film, however the “Following Fickman: On Set with the Director” featurette will give you a good look behind the scenes of the making of the movie. You’ll see the cast and crew having a lot of fun on set, and fans of Kristen Bell will get plenty of her quick humor as she goofs around. There’s more fun to be had on the “Blooper Dance Party” bonus feature, which, as you can probably guess, features the cast showing off their moves, as well as some more behind--the-scenes footage of the film's numerous dance scenes.
The funniest bonus features are the brief “Ask the Cast” and “Funny or Die -- Behind the Scenes Cast Interview Spoof” videos, as both do a better job of showcasing the cast's comedic talents than the actual film does. Watching Kristen Bell let stardom go to her head in the Funny or Die spoof video is laugh-worthy, as are Betty White’s comments in the Ask the Cast segment.
Finally, there are 11 deleted scenes on the Blu-ray. They include an optional director’s commentary. Andy Fickman intros each of the scenes and explains why they were taken out. Interestingly enough, there are a couple of cut scenes that I thought might have helped bring the story together a little bit had they been left in, including one between Marni and Charlie that adds a bit more context to his initial interest in her. It should be noted that the DVD only has three of the 11 deleted scenes on it. The DVD is also lacking the “Blooper Dance Party.” Other than that, the bonus features on the Blu-ray and included DVD are the same.
While the Blu-ray isn’t bursting with extra features, there are enough to give fans of the film an inside glimpse of the making of the movie and some laughs at the cast and crew having fun with one another as they film came together.
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