“Nobody gets through high school unscathed,” says Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), consoling her daughter Marnie (Kristen Bell). Marnie, now a successful PR person in Los Angeles was once an unfortunate looking girl with the even more unfortunate initials M.O.O. She was tormented in school by the popular girls, led by Joanne (Odette Yustman) a pretty, but vicious cheerleader. Joanne would have been a long forgotten memory, if not for the fact that she is engaged to Marnie’s brother. The weekend leading up to the wedding brings up long suppressed memories for Marnie, and her mother (Curtis), who, it turns out had a high school nemesis in Joanne’s aunt Mona (Sigourney Weaver), a wealthy business woman with the annoying habit of littering her speech with tidbits of French and Italian. Did I mention this is a comedy? Better stated, an alleged comedy?
“You Again” has one of those over contrived kind of kind of plots that could really benefit from a dose of reality. I don’t need deep torment from the characters to make their predicaments plausible, but a whiff of real feelings for the audience to hang on to from time to time would elevate the whole thing from the level of a Saturday night sitcom to something that could inspire genuine laughs. Slapstick is fine, and silly humor is OK too, but this movie wants us to sympathize with its characters and unfortunately we don’t because they’re not characters but the blandest of comedy stereotypes.
Not even a sprinkling of Betty White’s now patented slightly crazy grandmother character can liven things up, although a surprise cameo near the end suggests there might have been a better, and funnier story to explore with these characters. If only they had made the prequel first.