You Again movie review

photo: John J Hoffman, Jr

by Rick Grant
In real life if you were a successful career woman who has nothing to prove and finds out your brother is marrying the high school bully who made your life miserable, would you care? Probably not. However, the writers of this comedy are asking you to suspend your disbelief to accept that Marni is upset that her brother is marrying her high school nemesis.
Consequently, when Marni goes home to attend the nuptial celebrations, she uses this opportunity to get even with her high school tormentor, Joanna (Odette Justman) who has blossomed into a lovely woman.
Once the viewer accepts this premise, then the movie has some laughs, but not nearly enough. And when Marni goes over to the dark side in her plot to seek revenge, the film exudes dead air instead of laughs. Sure, Joanna was an unconscionable bitch in high school, but she has long since left that behind.
Not Marni–she is hell bent to show up Joanna as a manipulative conniving woman who is marrying her brother Will just to piss her off. Of course, Joanna jokes with Marni, but it has no malicious intent. To Marni, her mind travels back to high school and she just can’t let it go.
Meanwhile, Joanna’s mother Romona (Sigourney Weaver) hasn’t seen her nemesis, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) who is Marni’s mom in years. Mother and Romona have an ongoing feud. So, the family get-together is filled with tension, as Gail and Romona take cheeky swipes at each other.
Both Gail and Romona are successful and affluent. So their feud is of no consequence. But the underlying negative energy is well played by Curtis and Weaver, who are trying to one-up each other on their elegant style.
Betty White steals her scenes as Grandma Bunny. She says anything that comes to her mind, which at times, is embarrasing to the family. Although Marni really doesn’t want to ruin Will’s wedding, she is torn about telling him that Joanna is not the person he thinks she is.
Director Andy Fickman orchestrated this egocentric A-list ensemble cast with skillful direction, allowing them the freedom to improvise some scenes. Most of the comedy is low-brow but funny. The script has a lighthearted side and a serious interlude that changes the energy too quickly.
Marni’s campaign to get revenge goes too far and the emotional aftermath almost breaks up the family. Again, why does she care so much about what happened in high school? Well, it’s the hook of the script.
The point is: After high school and college, people go into the real world and deal with adult problems. All the silly mind games of high school are forgotten. After all, high school students are in a subculture and are hormone addled teenagers who are temporarily insane. To carry that into adulthood is absurd.
However, the power of the A-list cast almost overcomes the films flaws. The sight of Jamie Lee Curtis cat fighting with Sigourney Weaver is a hoot. We immediately flash back to Ripley in the Alien series battling the acid drooling monster. Both actresses let their hair down for that scene.