For those keeping tabs, Kristen Bell adds another disastrous flop to her movie resume with the unfunny 'You Again' from Andy Fickman ('The Game Plan,' 'Race to Witch Mountain (2009)'). Coming from two popular TV shows ('Veronica Mars' and 'Heroes'), the actress seems to have trouble finding proper cinematic footing as she stumbles from one bad flick to another. Even her two most successful ventures — 'Couples Retreat' and 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' — are forgettable turns for cheap laughs that have her playing second fiddle to someone else's wisecracks. But, as we've seen with 'When in Rome,' the young Bell relies too much on sight gags than she does on actual comedic talent.
In 'You Again,' she's successful PR executive Marni,who is flying home for her brother's wedding and discovers her future sister-in-law is Joanna (Odette Yustman), the woman who bullied her in high school and made adolescence a living hell. At first, Jay-Jay, as she was known back in the day, claims to not remember Marni, who also had a nickname back in the day. Her initials spell MOO. Cue laugh track... annnnd stop. Anyway, we know better, of course, since we're on Marni's side. That byotch tormented our poor protagonist. Marni is the real victim in all this, despite the fact that her life turned out rather swanky and this weekend is actually meant to celebrate her brother's big day, not to play out some sort of weird revenge plot. Right?
But, no. There's no room for examining things from a more positive light, as shown in a scene with grandma Bunny (Betty White) offering some words of wisdom that are immediately ignored. Joanna, meanwhile, smiles deviously to prove she's triumphed over another popularity contest by winning the affections of Marni's family. But, wait! If she really is a reformed bully, then why can't she do the one thing that would ultimately prove it — offer a simple apology?
The levels of immaturity in a movie about so-called mature women seem limitless here. Things progress to even lower depths when Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver join the embarrassing foray with an inane subplot involving another traumatic teenage memory. Frankly, the lovely ladies serve no other purpose other than to imply that high school drama is generational and possibly even hereditary. No one bothers to do something so simple, like talk through their problems. At least, not until after the mother-daughter duo have humiliated themselves enough and are suddenly reprimanded by Marni's dad (Victor Garber) in a very awkward scene that's nowhere near funny. It's downright offensive actually.
The script would much rather have the female cast reduced to some of the worst stereotypes imaginable. The filmmakers think it's funny to see a talented group of ladies wasted on behavior that's vindictive, conniving, and spiteful. They act like little girls apparently incapable of letting go of past wrongs, some of which are petty and simply stupid. It's unfortunate that the few good moments to be found throughout this mess come from Betty White's cougar prowess, and even then, the jokes are not laugh-out-loud funny. 'You Again' is miserable dreck, and if Kristen Bell continues selling out for such garbage, I have a sinking feeling audiences will soon respond in kind. "Her again?!"
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings 'You Again' to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo set. The Region Free, BD50 disc is housed in an eco-lite vortex keepcase and a glossy cardboard slipcover. After a series of skippable trailers, viewers are greeted by the standard selection of menu options.
'You Again' debuts on Blu-ray with an amazing, near-reference 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode (2.40:1) thanks to it being filmed on a Panavision Genesis HD camera.
The digital-to-digital transfer offers a razor-sharp presentation that reveals every nook and cranny. From the costuming and individual hairs to the interiors of houses and the elaborate wedding rehearsal, fine lines and objects are extraordinary and crisply defined, even when the cinematography suddenly creates a slightly dreamy haze. The leaves of trees are distinct, every imperfection of the wood in the clubhouse is exposed, and architectural details are appreciably visible. The bold color palette is eye-opening, especially in the primaries, providing the comedy with a great deal of animation and energy. Flesh tones appear healthy and natural, with strong, textural complexions.
Contrast is spot-on and pitch-perfect, which is often one area where shooting in HD hits a snag. Fortunately, the picture remains snappy and well-balanced. Black levels, too, are surprisingly rich and striking, with terrific gradational detail, giving the image wonderful dimensionality throughout. Details in the shadows are also discernible during some emotional scenes. The only negligible drawback is the lack of a film-like appearance. In fact, the entire movie looks rather sterile. It's a very minor issue but noticeable to those who don't care for the soap-opera look. Still, 'You Again' comes to Blu-ray with a terrific and highly-impressive presentation that fans will really enjoy.
For the audio, Disney offers a good but not great high-rez soundtrack that, honestly, should sound better than this. Most apparent of the DTS-HD Master Audio track is a surprisingly average low end, particularly in scenes where viewers are meant to feel the music. Don't get me wrong, bass is definitely present, but it does little to provide some weight to the song selections. The wedding rehearsal, for example, is rather boring and hollow. A wanting rear presence doesn't help matters any as the music never seems to spread into the background. And except for a few minor, barely audible instances of discrete effects, the surrounds are pretty much non-existent.
The lossless mix is ultimately a front-heavy presentation where the soundstage displays good channel separation and well-prioritized vocals. Dynamic range is also nicely balanced, with appreciable clarity and detail, although the design does on occasion come off a bit bland and flat, as if we you're listening with TV speakers. In the end, however, the track works just fine for a comedy of this caliber, but it's doesn't make much of an impression either.
For those few who actually enjoyed this Kristen Bell comedy, Disney offers a decent but very small assortment of supplements with a couple of exclusives.
She swings, and it's a miss! Kristen Bell strikes out once again with Andy Fickman's 'You Again.' Her latest comedy debacle comes with a strong cast of actors, but they seem wasted on a story that offers more misery than laughter. On the brighter side, this Blu-ray edition of the movie features an amazing, near-reference picture presentation as well as good audio. The supplemental package could be better — or at least, more entertaining — but it makes a nice assortment nonetheless. In the end, this is only recommended for the curious wanting to check out the video. But otherwise, this is strictly for the fans.