You Again is a film that’s too tame to be funny. It stars a bunch of seemingly classy individuals, was given a PG rating, but wants to be edgy and funny, somehow. It’s a walking contradiction, and by the time it finishes, you wished that you didn’t spend your time with it. This is a comedy that isn’t funny, isn’t sweet, and isn’t worth your time. I counted the number of times I laughed on one finger. And let me tell you, that single finger was raised all the way.
We begin while watching a home video that explains how life in high school wasn’t all that fun for Marni Olsen (Kristen Bell). She was tormented by her peers, picked on by the popular kids, and thanks to her glasses and acme, was ignored by all who weren’t focused on her torture. She’s now past all that, and has just received a promotion to become the VP of a company’s office in New York. Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to remember that, nor does it ever come into play. None of the other professions that these women have come into play either, and there are some fascinating ones. For instance, Sigourney Weaver’s character owns 14 hotel chains or something like that.
The reason that Marni’s new job doesn’t come into play is because almost all of the film is going to take place in her hometown. She’s flying home because her brother, Will (James Wolk), is getting married. Marni has yet to meet the groom, and only actually finds out her name on the plane ride. It turns out that her name is Joanna (Odette Yustman), who was the most popular girl during high school, and whose sole purpose at that point in her life was ruining Marni’s life. Her brother is marrying her mortal enemy! How could he? Oh, and The Rock makes a cameo appearance on this airplane, explaining to Marni how she should deal with this travesty once landing.
Upon arriving, Marni meets her mother (Jamie Lee Curtis), and the groom, learning much to her dismay that Joanna doesn’t remember her from high school. And Joanna has also turned her life around, becoming a nurse and spending lots of her free time volunteering. There still appears to be some underlying tension between the two, although it can’t pop up because neither girl wants their family to know. Joanna’s aunt (Weaver), also shows up from time to time, having the type of tension with Marni’s mother, as the two older ladies knew each other from high school as well.
What results for most of the film is a bunch of “crazy” moments involving each girl trying to outdo the other in her age group. Nothing works during these scenes, leading to a humorless comedy that will bore you far more often than it will make you smile or laugh. The one point in You Again when I laughed was when we saw Betty White using a curtain as a swing set. White plays Marni’s grandmother, and shows up because she’s really popular right now, I guess.
Since You Again received a PG rating, how much trouble do you think these people can really get up to? And how of them are comic actors, really? Few members of the cast are gifted with comedic timing, and since the content is so dull and safe, there’s nothing we either haven’t seen before or don’t need to see now. The ending doesn’t help things, and while you’ll probably see exactly how it’ll conclude way before it gets there, You Again‘s finale doesn’t even make sense considering how earlier moments worked out.
There are points in You Again where it seemed to be attempting slapstick. Unfortunately, the rating stops any of this from being funny. The most violent thing that happens involves plates being thrown at each other, always missing — seemingly intentionally. There’s a food fight, but the filmmakers kept things so safe that food couldn’t even be thrown between characters. In an effort to keep things family friendly, the film has been dumbed down so that it won’t even be enjoyable for the six-year-olds, the only age group that might have been prevented from seeing the film if it had a PG-13 rating. But, in this day and age, even they could have seen it.
It’s not even like these actors are all great comedians and that you can throw them in front of the camera and get an instantly watchable performance. Betty White, in recent years, is the only one to be a consistent draw in these types of films, but she’s a secondary character and rarely helps improve the film. Sigourney Weaver is not a comic actress, and neither is Jamie Lee Curtis. Kristen Bell has been in comedies before, and throws a lot of energy into her role, but energy alone doesn’t make the film worth watching.
You Again is a film that takes an okay premise, plays every scene as safely as possible, and is almost never actually funny because of this. Its actors don’t have great timing, the jokes — I’m still not convinced there were actually jokes, but we’ll call them that for the sake of convenience — aren’t sharp, the ending doesn’t make sense, there’s no real sense of flow, and I felt bored and uninterested throughout. You have absolutely no reason to watch this film, and if you do, you’re throwing your time out the window, giving it to something that doesn’t deserve even 30 minutes of your life. Even the Rock should be ashamed about his uncredited cameo appearance.