Mon September 20, 2010
A past not worth revisiting
By John DeSando, "It's Movie Time," "Cinema Classics," and "On the Marquee"
Although You Again is billed as a comedy, it is not a side splitter; it is more a comedy of manners, where social ideas were fleshed out in 19th century drawing rooms and at wedding festivities in the 21st. While the dialogue is not witty or particularly insightful, writer Moe Joline and director Andy Fickman have a conceit worth deconstruction: How do you come to terms with the past when it deals with the bully of your high school nightmares engaged to your loving brother?
Marni (Kristen Bell) is the sister, and Joanna (Odette Yustman) is the fianc?e. As Marni campaigns against Joanna on behalf of her brother, it becomes clear that the past, while as powerful as ever in the present, cannot be dealt with easily, nor can it be changed at will. As if the tension between these young women (class of '02) were not enough, Marni's mother, Gail (Jamie Lee Curtis), and Joanna's Aunt Ramona (Sigourney Weaver) are rivals from high school who also need to deal with their failed friendship.
So while the plot parallelism is obvious and a bit labored, the idea that each generation repeats the challenges of the previous is worth exploring, just not with a mediocre script.
John DeSando co-hosts It's Movie Time, Cinema Classics, and On the Marquee for WCBE 90.5. The shows can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml and on demand at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com