Movies: You Again **
(G, general release)
America's obsession with the injustices of high-school life has brought us some pretty entertaining films down the years, but You Again isn't one of them. Kristen Bell, who's a kind of annoyingly wholesome cross between Renee Zellweger and Reese Witherspoon, plays Marni, who when we first meet her is 16 and covered in spots and the butt of all her high school's jokes. Her tormentor-in-chief is a cheerleader and arch bitch by the name of Joanna (Odette Yustman), and after an altercation with Joanna, Marni gets blamed for making her brother Will miss a match-winning basketball shot.
When we flash forward eight years, however, things are going much better for Marni. She's smartened up her appearance and is now a very successful public relations executive.
But when she goes home to meet Will's fiancee in advance of his wedding, Marni is absolutely horrified to discover that it's none other than her old nemesis Joanna. Although the girl either can't or won't remember her, Marni can't let bygones be bygones, and her search for an apology will have devastating consequences for the bride and groom-to-be.
A fine cast includes Sigourney Weaver, who plays Joanna's Cruella DeVil-like aunt, and Jamie Lee Curtis, who's Marni's mom, Gail. It turns out Joanna's aunt and Gail have a few high-school scores to settle as well, and in the film's finest scene by some distance, Curtis and Weaver forget the limitations of the script they're saddled with and conjure up quite a touching moment in a swimming pool.
But this is clutching at straws, because in the main You Again is blandness itself and woefully short of laughs, a serious shortcoming in a film purporting to be a comedy.