As most people are undoubtedly aware, women make up roughly half of the world’s population. Despite this fact, certain segments of society will always see fit to lump every female into a homogenous group of one-dimensional, insecurity-driven cattiness. To discourage any argument to the contrary, if any woman dares to not support another of her kind (no matter how egregious the behavior in question), she shall be sentenced to the inevitable generalization that women are always their own worst enemies and, indeed, the ultimate enforcers of misogyny.
In a sense, I’m essentially setting myself up as “the enemy,” but I’m not about to defend females who continue to perpetuate the above-described myth. Furthermore, a movie like You Again — which doesn’t even reach average levels of romcom pandering but, even worse, situates itself as a Walt Disney Pictures romcom — isn’t meant to be taken seriously or considered at any point past a post-movie latte with the girls. Instead, this should be an opportunity to celebrate the numerous actresses (three generations of them!), all of whom received paychecks for their participation in presenting the stereotypically catty, bitchy view of women. Finally, a nod of cookie-cutter accomplishment should be directed towards the woman (Moe Jelline), who penned a screenplay worthy of the Disney seal of one-dimensional girls that must be saved from themselves, at all costs. This mission is aided and abetted by director Andy Fickman (the dubious genius behind such recent Disney fare as The Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain), who possesses no aspirations to deliver even a baseline quality movie. Conclusively, the only missing element to qualify this movie as a total cliché would be a cameo appearance from Dwayne Johnson.
Now, onto the obligatory nitty gritty details of a story that, much like Bride Wars, involves spiteful, territorial behavior at a wedding. First, we meet poor little Kristen Bell as Marni, a complete high school nerd with spectacular acne, awful hair, and ill-fitting glasses to match. Of course, Bell may have pulled off playing a teenaged outcast in “Veronica Mars,” but in You Again, we’re supposed to accept that she just happens to be a (suddenly) conventionally beautiful knockout, who continues to harbor inner scars left by her high school enemy, J.J. (Odette Yustman, a.k.a. “The Ass”). Now, high school has long since passed, and Marni is now a high-powered Hollywood publicist and total career woman. The world is her mini-oyster, so to speak, but when Marni travels back home for the wedding of her brother, Will (James Wolk), she is aghast to discover that Will’s betrothed is none other than that horrible, evil bitch from high school. Of course, nobody ever stops to question why, until this very moment, Marni never even knew that her sworn mortal enemy was romantically involved with her brother. It suffices to say that, while Marni was away, J.J. came to play; and Marni’s entire family — including her very own mother, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) — is enamored with J.J., who’s now practically Mother Theresa (a non-chaste version) or some shit.
Or so it would seem.
And since just two catfighting bitches just ain’t quite enough to qualify You Again as a feature film, Joanna’s dear Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) arrives on the scene to reenact her very own high school rivalry with Gail. All four women then proceed to thoroughly embarrass themselves while catapulting dishes at each other and pulling the old default move of using the swimming pool as a convenient weapon for an immaculately dressed and groomed enemy. Still, they manage to work in some karaoke and dance moves, presumably, for the benefit of those audience members not already disgusted with the story at hand. The question remains exactly how or why Curtis and Weaver weren’t insulted simply by opening the script.
Small roles are not any less cringeworthy and are filled by shamefully recognizable faces throughout. Among them, Kristen Chenowith cameos as the “wedding extraordinator,” and Betty White steadily works that recent career comeback into the inevitable frenzy known as “overexposure.” White plays the semi-pervy Grandma Bunny, who is a slight source of comic relief but just not enough to justify the entire movie’s existence. Throughout it all, Kristen Bell flounders about as if in desperate need of a career infusion, but she’s just stuck in yet another forgettable, awkward romcom. While Bell has shown herself capable of playing a slightly villainous girl, as she did in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bell doesn’t impress here while attempting to act the victim and take some sort of pathetic revenge upon her former abuser. And, as the You Again view of women would necessarily posit, that abuser just happens to feel like a victim too! This is nauseating stuff, folks. Just don’t go there, girlfriend.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.