Let's face it - You Again isn't the type of movie that wins Critics over, but if there's such a thing as fluff done right, this would be the gold standard. Marni (Kristen Bell) is an ugly duckling turned lovely and successful business woman, but her feelings of insecurity are awakened once again upon realizing that her older brother Will (James Wolk) is about to wed her teenage nightmare Joanne (Odette Yustman). The story is multi-layered though, as we realize that upon the bride and groom's families meeting for the first time, that Joanne's aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) and Will/Marni's mother Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis) actually were BFFs gone sour back in the day. With the Wedding Day approaching rapidly and unresolved tensions mounting between both Joanne and Marni and also Ramona and Gail, we wonder if everything will culminate in a big disaster as hidden secrets rise to the surface at the absolute worst time.
If you weren't sold on Kristen Bell yet, this is the film that will have her winning your heart as the vulnerable girl who never really grew up. Never for a moment do we stop rooting for her even when her character goes through its most dramatic transformation. Her chemistry with arch-nemesis Yustman is explosive and at the same time she is equally convincing as the protective sister as she is the daughter who needs approval. And need I mention the masterful comedic work of Curtis and Weaver? Curtis' cheerleading sequence will have you on the floor and her clumsiness makes us recall the memorable work she displayed in True Lies. Weaver is pitch-perfect as a catty show-off who never ceases to get rid of that chip on her shoulder. And although they are mostly in the wings, Canadian Victor Garber as Marni's father and Betty White as her grandmother provide perfectly positioned bits of laughter. Kristin Chenoweth is delightful as the over-the-top Wedding Planner too. Above all else, Hall & Oates even make a cameo!
Although completely implausible and pretty much outlandish, You Again succeeds in its knowing campiness to garner big laughs. At the same time, it is a heartwarming tale of forgiveness and it is for this reason that it redeems itself of whatever predictability it might suffer from. The Disney comedy is now in wide release and is well worth a visit to the theatre with your girl friends. Remember to sit through the Credits! Grade: B+