Spotty high school zero Marni (Kristen Bell) suffers the usual teenage torments from the popular mean girls, led by cheerleader from hell Joanna (Cloverfield’s Odette Yustman).
Flash-forward a dozen years, and Marni has successfully buried her past to become a high-powered PR exec. The morally dubious Joanna, on the other hand, has become Marni’s brother’s (James Wolk) fiancée.
In any rational world, this would be nothing more than a slightly ironic twist but in You Again, it’s a veritable call to arms as Marni goes to great lengths to disrupt her brother’s nuptials and possibly his entire life, just to slake her thirst for teenage revenge.
When her mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) realises that Joanna’s Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) is actually her aged teenage rival, the fur and punch bowls really start to fly.
Directed with bland efficiency by the typically family-friendly Andy Fickman (Race To Witch Mountain, The Game Plan), You Again never seems to find the tone it’s aiming for.
Dotting Bell’s face with teenage pimples and leaving her to perish under Yustman’s cheer-demon would suggest a pitch-black, cruel-school romp a la Heathers or Jawbreaker.
But most of the film’s running time is mired in standard romcom scenarios (Exhibit A: awkward wedding dinner). There’s also enough melodramatic yapping to leave anyone not dead-centre in You Again’s target audience wishing they’d settled on a funnier movie.
Its one saving grace is the up-for-it cast: Weaver and Curtis clearly relish their roles as life-long rivals, Yustman is a terrific monster, and there are some cheering, if not wildly surprising, cameos along the way.
Undemanding froth-seekers will likely enjoy the spry slapstick and gooey final act, but given the deadening inevitability of it all, You Again is actually the perfect title for this formulaic piece of faux-edgy fluff.
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Game but clueless, You Again shoots for a girl-powered bad-taste comedy but lands closer to daytime soap opera with added pratfalls. Fitfully amusing, appealingly cast, utterly inconsequential.