Actress Kristen Bell remains an interesting mixture, with the front of a cheery city girl backed by an appealing dry humor. While she rose to fame on TV's "Veronica Mars", she's been working her way up through what I would call the minor leagues with "When in Rome" and now "You Again", both of which are not without issue, but have their charms and provide a reasonably good showcase for Bell. In "Again", she stars as Marni, who - as we find out early in the picture - was a bit of a geeky outcast in high school. However, thanks to a boost of confidence, by the time she has become an adult, she's made herself over and has gone on to be a successful PR person.
However, Marni's soon horrified to learn that her brother is about to marry Joanna (Odette Yustman), who tormented her throughout her dorky high school years. While Joanna acts innocent, Marni's upset by the announcement. Meanwhile, in what is a remarkable coincidence, Marni's mother (Jamie Lee Curtis) had issues with Joanna's mother (Sigourney Weaver, and holy crap, I think Signourney Weaver is about 8 feet tall - she towers over Curtis) in the past. Looking on from the sidelines is Marni's grandmother (Betty White), who offers rather crude comments in the fashion that has made Betty White popular all over again in the last couple of years (although, if I'm going to be honest, it's a bit much.)
The picture's key issue is that it starts to wander a bit, and feels as if it's going from one set piece to another, including a rather slapsticky dance class bit that doesn't really progress the plot too much and features a kooky performance from Kristin Chenoweth (and speaking of actors who need a change - as much as I like Chenoweth, the kooky persona is getting a little repetitive.) The movie gets to a nice place towards the end, but the journey to get there could have been a bit more focused. Taking out a couple of minutes of filler here-and-there could have tightened the picture's pacing nicely, and while the use of various tunes on the soundtrack has a few cute moments, it becomes overused rather quickly and a number set to Kriss Kross's "Jump" late in the movie is supposed to be funny, but just feels more awkward than anything. Seriously, "We Are Family" plays during the happy ending.
The picture certainly pulls together a terrific cast, and it's a credit to the cast that the movie plays as well as it does. However, the performances vary a bit - while Bell and Weaver are enjoyable, Curtis feels a little on autopilot. Victor Garber offers a few amusing moments, but it's not too much of a role. As I've said elsewhere, I thought Yustman was very promising in "Cloverfield", but has not really shown as much since - this isn't a demanding role, but she does an enjoyable job showing the character's darker side at times.
Overall, the movie isn't without issues, but it's a fine date night rental with a good cast.
VIDEO: "You Again" is presented in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC). The presentation quality is satisfactory and enjoyable, although not really noteworthy in any regard. Sharpness and detail are consistently fine, with images that are crisp if not glassy/crystal clear. A few instances of light edge enhancement appeared, but the presentation otherwise looked clean and without serious concern. Colors looked bright and warm, with pleasing saturation and no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The film's DTS-HD 5.1 presentation is purely a comedy mix, with limited surround use. Audio quality was just fine, with clean, clear dialogue and well-recorded music.
EXTRAS: A blooper reel/dance party has a few laughs, but Bell's mildly sarcastic line at the end of the reel is the best thing about it. A fake interview for "Funny or Die" actually gets some laughs as the women of the film (well, aside from Jamie Lee Curtis) all turn on one another. We also get a featurette on the director, interview with cast and deleted scenes w/commentary from the director.
Final Thoughts: "You Again" isn't without some concerns, but it's a fine date night rental with a good cast. The Blu-Ray offers reasonably good audio/video quality, along with a handful of extras.
The Film B-