This revenge is best not served at all

With a promising setup and bankable cast, the new Disney family flick You Again might have been a decent lightweight romantic comedy, as its promotional bumph and trailers have led us to believe.

Odette Yustman

Odette Yustman

You Again

1 1/2 stars (out of 4)

With a promising setup and bankable cast, the new Disney family flick You Again might have been a decent lightweight romantic comedy, as its promotional bumph and trailers have led us to believe.

No such luck. A laugh-free script that’s underscored by a nasty mean streak — about revenge and retribution for long-ago high school sins committed by a fetching bully (Odette Yustman) on a hapless geek (Kristen Bell), who has morphed into a beautiful and successful public relations executive — makes it almost impossible for anyone to get a footing, let alone inspire a cackle.

Traumatic though high school is for many teenagers, it seems the heroine in this mess, Marni (Bell) hasn’t been able to ditch the painful baggage, despite her fresh-faced beauty and rising fortunes in L.A.

When she is summoned home for her brother’s wedding and learns too late that his bride-to-be is her high-school nemesis, the raven-headed vixen cheerleader J.J. (Yustman), she is determined to extract an apology for past crimes, only to be thwarted by J.J.’s apparent cunning.

In Marni’s absence, J.J. has won the hearts of her parents, overplayed by Jamie Lee Curtis and Victor Garber, and her grandmother, rendered by a bewildered Betty White.

As wedding plans wind up, J.J.’s position is reinforced by the sudden arrival of her aunt and surrogate mother (Sigourney Weaver).

She’s a hotel-chain mogul who, it turns out, has never overcome high school pain inflicted by her one-time best friend, Marni’s mother.

The script, by Moe Jelline, piles on psychic sores and insufferable coincidences one after another, and in an effort to reach some kind of resolution — among the platitudes and excess verbiage that passes for dialogue, we get lots of nonsense advice about mistakes humans make and how to fix them.

Director Andy Fickman (Race to Witch Mountain) drags his characters through a sideshow of desperate devices, including a tedious karaoke event, a dish-hurling cat fight, a hideously overdone dance instruction routine, a full-dress tussle in a pool, and two or three surprise cameo appearances. None of it’s funny.

In fact, the only performance worth its screen time is what comes off as a bit of improv by Kyle Bornheimer, playing J.J.’s jilted ex, whom Marni has invited to the wedding rehearsal to spite her rival. His drunken musical toast stands out as You Again’s one genuinely original bit of business.

Greg Quill is a movie critic for The Toronto Star.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

A recent investigation by the RCMP Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit led to the arrests of 24 people. (Contributed photo)
24 people arrested following RCMP investigation in central Alberta

Twenty-four people are facing a combined 235 charges following an investigation by… Continue reading

Photo from Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page
Sylvan Lake communities band together on development plan

Sylvan Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan expected to be approved next spring

Tribe restaurant owner Paul Harris, left, consults with manager Brandon Bouchard about how to proceed under pandemic rules that make it hard for eateries to be profitable. (Contributed photo).
New pandemic rules deemed workable for Red Deer retailers

Stricter COVID-19 reduction measures introduced in lead-up to Christmas

Quentin Lee Strawberry
Man accused in 2019 Red Deer murder will stay behind bars

Quentin Strawberry going to trial next year on second-degree murder charge

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests

Hockey Canada suspends world junior selection camp after positive COVID-19 tests

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals to present bill on single-game sports betting

Liberals to present bill on single-game sports betting

Bayern, Man City win to advance to Champions League last-16

Bayern, Man City win to advance to Champions League last-16

FILE - In this March 26, 2006 file photo, former soccer player Diego Maradona smokes a cigar as he watches Argentina's first division soccer match between Boca Juniors and River Plate in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Argentine soccer great who was among the best players ever and who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity, died from a heart attack on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at his home in Buenos Aires. He was 60. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60

Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona dies at 60

In this July 1, 2020, photo, Salt Lake Tribune data columnist and Utah Jazz beat writer Andy Larsen poses for a photo. Larsen is a sports writer, but with much of that world sidelined during the pandemic he's been digging into coronavirus data and its sobering implications. So when he found himself with a cache of spare change, partially from his childhood piggy bank, he knew plenty of people could use it. (Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)
Tweet on spare change generates big money for virus aid

Tweet on spare change generates big money for virus aid

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 file photo, a view of a 'Matterhorn-Express' gondola lift in front of Matterhorn mountain in the Zermatt ski resort, in Zermatt, Switzerland. Restrictions to slow the curve of coronavirus infections have kept ski lifts closed in Italy, France, Germany and Austria, as well as countries further east. But skiers are already heading to mountains in Switzerland, drawing an envious gaze from ski industry and local officials in mountain regions elsewhere on the continent who lost most of last season due to the virus. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP, File)
As season nears, Europe ponders skiing during pandemic

As season nears, Europe ponders skiing during pandemic

FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2015 file photo, actor John Boyega, right, pose with Star Wars characters during the Japan Premiere of their latest film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in Tokyo. Boyega stars in Steve McQueen’s “Red White and Blue,” the third film in the director’s anthology of West Indian life in London from the ‘60s through the ’80s. The five-film series will debut Dec. 4. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
John Boyega isn’t going to ‘take the money and shush’

John Boyega isn’t going to ‘take the money and shush’

The Hockley Motel in Mono, Ont., is shown in this undated handout photo. An Ontario motel that served as a backdrop for the beloved CBC sitcom "Schitt's Creek" is up for sale. The Hockley Motel in Mono, about an hour's drive northwest of Toronto, was listed for $2 million today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Colliers International
Calling all eccentric millionaires: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ motel up for sale for $2 million

Calling all eccentric millionaires: ‘Schitt’s Creek’ motel up for sale for $2 million

Most Read