I like Kristen Bell. “Veronica Mars” was one of the best television series I’ve ever seen, and Bell managed to make what could have been a one-note character (sassy teen detective!) into a very nuanced and complex person. I also enjoyed her performance in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” because she’s set up to be the mean ex-girlfriend you’re supposed to hate, but she turns everything on its head when she lets you see her side of the story.
I like Jamie Lee Curtis. She seems really down-to-earth (which you’d have to be to do commercials for digestion-regulating yogurt), and “A Fish Called Wanda” and “True Lies” are both good times. She’s also the reason I’ve seen the 2003 remake of “Freaky Friday” several times (seriously, it’s actually highly entertaining). Plus, she’s married to Christopher Guest, which is awesome.
I like Sigourney Weaver. “Alien,” “Ghost Busters,” “Working Girl,” “The Ice Storm” — she’s fantastic in all of them. And apparently audiences really love her in some little movie called “Avatar.” Weaver always plays tough, smart women with heart, and she proves that women can age gracefully (and naturally) in Hollywood.
So why are these three great actresses playing a bunch of catty, whiny, immature women in “You Again”? Bell is Marni, a successful executive who is looking forward to her brother’s upcoming wedding, despite the fact she hasn’t met his fiancé yet. Then her mom (Curtis) tells her they went to high school together, and Marni realizes her brother is marrying the bitchy cheerleader who made her high school life a misery. Cue the embarrassing flashback that tries to convince us — by adding glasses and a spattering of fake acne — that Kristen Bell was ever a nerd. Sorry, Kristen, but you can never pull off a convincing “I was once a loser” act. Trust me, I’m an expert; I was in the marching band.
In about .5 seconds, Marni is spiraling off the high she got from a recent promotion and starts freaking out about the wedding, determined that she must expose the fiancé for the horrible person she is. Or was. But might still be. Because in the land of movies, high school is apparently for life, and no one ever gets over it.
Case in point: Marni’s mom starts out as the voice of reason, but then it turns out that the wicked fiancé’s aunt (Weaver) is the mean girl who made her high school life a misery, so she goes a little crazy, too. Wackiness, shenanigans, and general tomfoolery ensue.
While I have no doubt that Bell, Curtis, and Weaver could make a hilarious comedy together, I just wish they had collaborated for something a bit more female-empowering and less clichéd than “You Again.” “Women being crazy over a wedding” and “women being crazy over crap that happened ages ago” has been done to death. We can be crazy over other things, too, you know. How about a “women being crazy over an awesome new job” or a “women being crazy over anything that doesn’t involve getting a man” movie? Just be sure to include a makeover montage. Women LOVE a good makeover montage.
Also starring Kristin Chenoweth, Victor Garber and Betty White, “You Again” will so not be over it on Sept. 24.
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