According to Box Office Mojo, the comedy “You Again” has grossed a disappointing $17.8 million in its first two weeks of release. Those box office results are low considering that the movie’s strong cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, and “It Girl” Betty White. However, the film’s tired and bland formula has prevented it from becoming a hit.
“You Again” tells the story of a high school dork who is given a chance for revenge years later. Marni (Kristen Bell) was a pimply-faced loser who was tormented by popular cheerleaders in high school. Her main antagonist was Joanna (Odette Yustman), who played a pivotal role in making Marni’s life miserable.
Years after both teens graduated, Marni’s brother Will becomes engaged to Joanna (who is as unlikable as ever). In an unbelievable surprise only seen in silly comedies, Marni doesn’t realize that her brother’s fiancé is her former nemesis until she is on a plane heading to the wedding. Arriving at her parent’s house, Marni seeks an apology from Joanna. However, Joanna claims that she doesn’t remember her. This denial infuriates Marni who plots to reveal Joanna’s true character to Will before the wedding.
Meanwhile, Marni’s mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) believes in second chances and urges her daughter to forgive Joanna’s mistakes. However, in another unbelievable coincidence, Joanna’s aunt turns out to be Gail’s former best friend Ramona (Sigourney Weaver). Gail and Ramona have their own rivalry dating back from high school. As Marni and Joanna slyly undermine each other, Gail and Ramona try to one-up one another. Ramona gloats about her successful business career while Gail fondly tries to relive her high school cheerleading glory.
Throughout its first two-thirds, “You Again” has a few funny moments in spite of its unbelievable plot twists and some outlandish scenes. Jamie Lee Curtis is especially well cast and she has a few great scenes of physical comedy as she shows off her athletic abilities. Betty White also receives a few laughs playing Marni’s goofy grandmother.
Unfortunately, the final third of “You Again” is atrocious. As Marni plans the ultimate revenge against Joanna, the characters become caricatures instead of real people. For instance, at the wedding dinner, Joanna decides to show off how much she loves her fiancé by performing a dance routine. With pregnant back-up dancers, she tries to relive her cheerleading days. Instead of being funny, this scene is simply ridiculous and grossly over-the-top.
Also, as the rivalries unfold, Marni and Joanna get into a food fight. As the two torpedo each other with dinner cuisine, Gail and Ramona argue in another room and inevitably fall into a backyard swimming pool together. If these scenes weren’t in a 2010 movie, they could be mistaken for sequences from the 1980’s drama “Dallas.” Interestingly enough, one former castmate of “Dallas” actually stops by at the end of “You Again” for a fun little cameo, but the movie fails to note the irony of his appearance.
Audiences and critics have negatively reacted to “You Again.” Its over the top antics and unbelievable plot twists detract from the few laughs that this movie offers. Unlike 2009’s “The Hangover,” which took a clichéd formula and added a freshness to it, “You Again” feels like a recycling of bad comedies.
It’s no surprise that so many people have rejected this film. “You Again” is a bland and formulaic comedy which is full of gags and jokes that audiences have seen before in better movies than this.