In 2002, Marni Olivia Olsen “MOO” (Kristen Bell) was the stereotypical loser in high school. She had braces, acne, flat hair and an unusually invasive, unavoidable awkwardness of adolescence. She was brutally bullied by nemesis Joanna “J.J.” Clark (Odette Yustman), a popular, attractive, mean-spirited cheerleader. In present day California, Marni is now a successful PR firm vice president (who is great at speeches but oddly timid and insecure when it comes to promotions), anxiously returning to her old home for her brother Will’s (James Wolk) wedding. She’s thrilled to see her mom Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), her father Mark (Victor Garber), her younger brother Ben (Billy Unger) and her Grandma Bunny (Betty White). But she’s in for a shock when Will’s fiancée is none other than Joanna, looking prettier, having more accomplishments and garnering generous approval by Marni’s family. Gail is also in for a surprise when Joanna’s Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) turns out to be her very own best-friend-turned-enemy from school.When comedic timing and absurd situations are at their worst, You Again opts for moments of random slapstick to fill in the gaps. None of it is creative, resulting in head-butts, stubbed toes, all forms of falling down, and clumsily splattered food, like a less sincere version of a Three Stooges skit. The lack of intelligent humor is deplorable. Rarely are romantic comedies so devoid of genuine laughs. The “geek squad poster child” bits, the evil rival relishing in wickedness, and the excessive woe-is-me pity story that beseeches bleeding heart romantics are all too over-the-top and artificial to gain any empathy. How many adults honestly sympathize with Wile E. Coyote when he fails to catch the Roadrunner?
Only one character was convincing: Tim (the essentially unknown Kyle Bornheimer) is Joanna’s ex-boyfriend who eventually reveals himself to be mentally unstable. He was believable in the boundaries of the ridiculous coincidences and overenthusiastic acting because of his insanity. None of the other characters had an excuse to be so overwhelmingly bubbly, energetic, animated, unrealistic and fake.
All You Again has is an intriguing setup based on the most unlikely of coincidences. No realism works its way into the script, painfully apparent when everyone has their own dance sequences – perhaps even more than the recent “Step Up” movies. There are cheerleader routines, reminiscing over special moves, character introductions with elaborate choreography, dance-offs, slow dances, crazed acrobatics, wedding marches and more. The entire film is an exhausting tango of uncomfortable circumstances that escalate into an utterly ludicrous finale which is itself a mess of multiple endings with predictable reunions and pathetic reconciliations (it’s one of the very worst series of conclusions ever filmed). Predominant themes include forgiving and forgetting and granting second chances, but the manner in which these ideas are orchestrated deserves no critical mercy. You Again is juvenile, unconvincing and idiotic.
– Mike Massie