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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » You Again (Blu-ray)
You Again (Blu-ray)
Touchstone // PG // February 8, 2011 // Region Free
List Price: $39.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Adam Tyner | posted January 29, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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Yup. I know the feeling. That exact same "ack, get me outta here" expression was plastered across my face throughout pretty much every last frame of You Again, the latest in a neverending parade of aggressively awful romantic comedies starring Kristen Bell. I don't really care if you judge me or not, so I'll admit it: I was holding out at least a little hope that its catty premise about high school arch-nemeses years down the road accidentally becoming sisters-in-law might have some of the wit and bite of Mean Girls. Nope, not so much. You Again feels like it's been lifted straight off the same rom-com assembly line that cursed us with Couples Retreat and When In Rome. C'mon, K-Bell! How many limp, laughless romantic comedies do I have to suffer through before I take back that Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card I handed you after Veronica Mars?

Dateline! 2002. High school senior Marni Olivia Olsen (Kristen Bell) has a complexion that looks like something the Mars Rover would've snapped photos of, a Fantastic Sam's-grade hairstyle, oversized glasses, braces, and a pretty unfortunate fashion sense. So, yeah: not the head cheerleader type so much. That'd be J.J. (Odette Yustman), the modelesque, drop-dead-gorgeous knockout who's decided that she's the warden of their high school, and Marni is...I don't know, someone that a warden would torment relentlessly, I guess. J.J. made every waking moment -- and probably the not-waking moments too -- of Marni's years in high school pure, unadulterated hell. But hey! That's all eight years behind her in the rear view mirror. Marni has
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resculpted herself into a high muckity-muck at one of the nation's most prestigious PR firms. The braces are long gone, she's obviously shelling out more than ten bucks on a haircut these days, her skin is as smooth's as a baby's something or another, and...ooooh, it's all just coming up aces for Marni. Aces and roses and kittens and unicorns and rainbows!

Oh, and just as she's on her way to a big promotion in New York, Marni swoops back home for her big brother's wedding. Marni's never met Joanna and has only seen one mostly obscured picture of her, but...eh, whatever. She's heard nothing but good things. Joanna's a devoted nurse, volunteers at every place, ever, and does her gosh-darn best to make the world a better place. Turns out, though...? ::cue the drum roll:: Joanna may have dropped the nickname, but yup, she was that bitchy cheerleader who tortured Marni all those years and years ago, and every last one of those old insecurities come flooding back. The thing is that Joanna doesn't seem to remember her at all, although Marni knows this whole amnesiatic good girl routine is an act, and payback's a bitch. Oh, but get this: Joanna's aunt (Sigourney Weaver) and Marni's mom (Jamie Lee Curtis) also used to be arch-rivals in high school, and they start passive-aggressively attacking each other too! Does that push You Again over into madcap hilarity territory? I always forget where hijinks end and madcap begins.

You Again is excruciating. The movie shifts gears between
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Whimsical Romantic Comedy -- complete with an overbearingly whimsical romantic comedy score to remind you that you're supposed to double over with laughter, I guess -- and Sappy Schmaltz. You Again commits the unforgiveable sin of dropping in a record scratch to punctuate one gag. I don't even have to tell you that there's a recurring bit about the family dog snarling at Marni and doting over Joanna. Pretty much every other standard issue joke you can dream up is in here somewhere: the "oh noooooooooooo!" shot of two people tumbling into a swimming pool, a goopy food fight, water blasting out of a pipe after some botched plumbing, the old lady using naughty words, and eight quadraseptazillion pratfalls. The entire cast lambadas to a Britney Spears song. (Lambada? Really? Take that, 1989!) There's another dance number set to Kris Kross' immortal "Jump", and somewhere in the middle of it, Odette Yustman starts busting rhymes about her impending nuptuals. There are also singalongs to "Joanna" and Hall and Oates' "Your Kiss On My List". Did first-time screenwriter Moe Jelline have her iPod on shuffle when she hammered out the script or something? Marni gets denture glue in her hair, and one finger-waggling wacky sequence ends with a tumble through an antbed, a compost heap, and a bucket of Crisco. Oh yeah, and her dad eats dinner blindfolded as part of a cra-a-a-a-a-a-a-zy diet he's on. If you think You Again is dreadful when it's flailing around, desperately trying to get a laugh, just wait until the
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weepy, sappy stuff kicks in.

It's especially a drag since You Again has a pretty good cast at its fingertips. I'm still convinced that Kristen Bell is the real deal, and even though her might isn't enough to elevate material this lousy, she still gives it her all. Cute, feisty, and willing to take a pratfall are all that You Again really demands out of her. Odette Yustman is, as ever, drop dead gorgeous, and she's pretty convincing ping-ponging back and forth between being an unrelenting bitch and a sweet, impossibly perfect fiancee. I don't really need to talk up Sigourney Weaver or Jamie Lee Curtis because all that's pretty well established. Betty White's tossed in to do the same familiar schtick she's been for a while now...just being the sweet, harmless looking old lady who says something naughty and supposedly shocking with a smile. Why the kids are eating that up all of a sudden, I have no idea, but Disney's plugging the holy hell out of Betty White on the packaging for this Blu-ray disc. Pretty much everyone else in the cast -- both of Marni's brothers, her dad, an overbearing ex of Joanna's -- is dead air. Um, I guess Kristin Chenoweth escapes more or less unscathed, but her wedding planner-on-uppers character kind of does the same exact thing in every scene she's in, and that schtick gets stale really quickly.

You Again is a lot like Bride Wars, only...wait, there's no "only". You Again is a lot like Bride Wars, and that's really not a good thing at all. Unimaginative, glacially slow, prone to latching onto stale gags that weren't funny in the first place and recycling them over and over and over...ack. Skip It.


Video
Well...at least it looks pretty? I'm probably not giving away any closely guarded secrets when I say that I grabbed You Again because Odette Yustman and Kristen Bell were on the marquee, and this glossy, colorful Blu-ray disc dishes out eye candy to match. The scope photography is consistently crisp and richly detailed throughout. Contrast remains rock solid, and its sunny,
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cheery palette comes through beautifully. You Again was shot digitally but still has a nicely filmic look to it. It obviously goes without saying that the all-digital route means there aren't any nicks, tears, or flecks to get in the way, and no edge haloes or compression artifacts ever creep in either. See? I can go a whole paragraph without writing anything mean.

The high bitrate AVC encode for You Again spans both layers of this BD-50 disc. The image is letterboxed to preserve its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1.


Audio
The sound design throughout You Again is pretty routine for a romantic comedy. It's a dialogue-heavy track with the bulk of the action rooted front and center. A few effects leak into the surrounds, such as the nightmarish flashbacks and a collapsing Treehouse of Horror, but the rear channels and the subwoofer are mostly there to reinforce the music. Distinctness and clarity are both reasonably strong, and all the dialogue is balanced nicely in the mix. I'm kind of running out of things to say here. The short answer goes something like pretty standard stuff but completely fine.

The technical specs are exactly what you'd expect for a movie fresh out of theaters: 5.1, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio. Also included are Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in French and Spanish. Subtitles are offered up in English (SDH), Spanish, and French.


Extras
  • Following Flickman: On Set with the Director (7 min.; HD): The one and only featurette on this Blu-ray disc is a love letter to director Andy Fickman. The crew gushes about how wacky and kooky the dude is, and there's a good bit about how he and Kristen Bell torture each other on the set. Fickman really does come across as a quick-witted and extremely likeable guy. I'm sorry I hated your movie!

  • Blooper Dance Party (5 min.; HD): As could probably
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    guess by the title, this is a mix of the standard issue blooper reel stuff with a whole, whole lot of dancing.

  • Ask the Cast (1 min.; HD): The stars of You Again offer up helpful snippets of advice about how to impress during an interview, what to bring along on your very first school dance, and how to beat out another actress for a part. Like pretty much all the gags in the movie, the jokes here are lazy and obvious. At least this only clocks in at a minute and change.

  • Funny or Die (3 min.; HD): I mean, if you don't want to wait to get this Blu-ray disc in your grubby little hands, you can just watch this 3 minute sketch at FunnyOrDie.com. It's a pretty much one-joke bit about the four actresses in the flick bickering with each other during an interview.

  • Deleted Scenes (27 min.; HD): Last up is a reel of deleted scenes that runs almost twice as long as the rest of the extras combined. Well, at least it's that long if you watch 'em with the optional introductions by director Andy Fickman, although he mostly just says that this is footage everyone really loved but had to be yoinked for time/pacing. The back of the case says there are 11 scenes. I jotted down 12. I'm too lazy to count again, so I'll pretend the packaging is correct.

    Some of these are extensions to existing scenes, such as a longer chat between Marni and Joanna during their not-really-a-slumber-party along with a Madonna riff the following morning. There's the shocking reveal that not only are Marni and Joanna going to be family, but Jay and Moms already are sisters. Grandma Bunny was originally going to have Alzheimer's or something, and although those gags were snipped out of the final cut, they're dropped back in here. There's a very lengthy follow-up to Mom's borked plumbing job in Mona's ritzy hotel suite. Another long-ish bit swirls around Kristin Chenoweth's Southern-fried wedding planner introducing herself to everyone in the movie, one by one. You get to see Marni tumble into a compost heap and get smothered in lard. Jamie Lee Curtis rides the silk in the dance studio. There's a much longer wedding shower sequence, including a cameo by the douchey guy from Ace of Cakes. Another scene cut out of the end plays up the whole "romantic" part of "romantic comedy" a little more.

    There's not a single laugh to be found in the final cut, and not surprisingly, the footage that was deemed not good enough to make it in really isn't any better.

You Again comes packaged in an embossed cardboard slipcover, and tucked inside is a DVD of the movie. This looks to be the same as the retail DVD too, complete with a mostly full slate of extras. The DVD loses eight deleted scenes and the blooper reel, but everything else is present and accounted for.


The Final Word
You Again is the sort of limp, lifeless, and aggressively routine romantic comedy that I watch and just wonder...did I do something wrong? Am I being punished? You Again lines up a pretty solid cast and squanders every ounce of talent they have. There's not a single laugh, chuckle, guffaw, or whatever else I could find in the thesaurus if I bothered to look it up anywhere in here. I feel like the little kid in the stands in an old baseball movie or something by saying this, but I still believe in you, Kristen Bell! You can come back...return to those mighty, dizzying heights of days past! All you have to do is...y'know, stop churning out dreck like this. Skip It.
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